Welcome to Talking about Child Mental Health in Tennessee — a compendium of communications research and resources for helping the public better understand issues such as child development, child mental health, and programs informed by a “System of Care” operational philosophy.
This toolkit was developed for the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth (TCCY) with the generous support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and KIDS COUNT. It builds on research sponsored by the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, the Jacksonville System of Care Initiative, and the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative.
A decade of FrameWorks’ research demonstrates that effective communications can help activate the public’s thinking and engagement with complex issues like early child development and child mental health. Here, we demonstrate how an empirically based communications strategy can bolster public understanding and support for programs and policies likely to produce long-term improvements for Tennessee’s children. As our research findings have shown, inviting the public into a deeper understanding of how development works can help them see how this in turn bolsters mental health and leads to outcomes like resilience to adversity. This knowledge can then lead to increased public understanding and support for solutions like a coordinated system of supports and resources for students, teachers, schools, and the broader community. Ultimately, these resources are designed to help engage the public in better understanding potential policy directions, and supporting solutions to pressing problems.
Below, we provide application materials for front-line communicators in the form of a toolkit deploying recommended framing strategies to shift the public conversation about children, child development, child mental health and youth well-being in Tennessee. The kit’s materials include:
- sample “ready to go” communications that can be used as-is or adapted and repurposed for your organization’s needs;
- communications examples that demonstrate the “do’s and don’ts” of the framing recommendations;
- graphics and video animations that model the key concepts of the recommendations;
- instructional materials including a webinar that can be used for training communications staff in Strategic Frame Analysis;
- annotations that explain the framing strategies being illustrated
The Big Picture
Why do we need to be strategic framers when it comes to talking about Child Mental Health? What does this communications research have to offer the field? These pieces offer an overview.
Child Mental Health: Models of the Mind
Child Mental Health Models of the Mind is a multi-media presentation of the findings from twenty in-depth cognitive interviews, conducted in Dallas, Texas and Cleveland, Ohio in May 2009. Featuring the real voices of research informants, this presentation demonstrates some of the ways in which lay understanding of the issue of children’s mental health differs significantly from what experts know. It also suggests how expert knowledge might be more effectively conveyed to the public and policymakers.
Key Framing Guides
Useful guides to keep communicators on frame.
These materials model how to apply the tested frame elements to current news or calendar events. They can be used as templates or taken as ready-to-go communications pieces, adapted to local contexts (by adding, for example, local references or site-specific information) or restructured for a variety of media (for instance, by repurposing an editorial as a blog post or public remarks).
Evergreen Webinar on Talking Children’s Mental Health
Are you new to strategic framing? Anna Marie Trester of FrameWorks’ Learning Team gives an introductory training to FrameWorks’ recommendations for talking about Child Mental Health.
A 60-second animation of Levelness, a metaphor that establishes the relationship between a child and her environment.