December 21, 2006

Make Silver as Recognizable as Pink, Red or Yellow

How often in the course of a week do you see a pink ribbon, a red ribbon, or a yellow ribbon? Can you name or explain what each of these ribbons signifies? Have you thought of how much your awareness of the issues these ribbons represent has been increased? Do you know how valuable the pink and red ribbon campaigns have been for raising funds for research and advocacy, not to mention their overall effect on raising awareness?

Very valuable.

Now. Have you heard of the Silver Ribbon? Have you seen one when out and about (and we’re not talking the NAMI convention or at your doctor or therapists office)? Do you wear a Silver Ribbon? Do you know what the Silver Ribbon represents? Have you given a Silver Ribbon to a family member, friend, coworker, or stranger? While over 200,000 Silver Ribbon pins have been distributed by NARSAD Artworks and over 100,000 letters have been written to the United States Postal Service advocating creation of a Silver Ribbon First Class Postage Stamp since 2000, the Silver Ribbon has yet to reach the level of immediate recognition that these other ribbons have.

But, we can do it. And, we will do it.

In a nutshell, the Silver Ribbon promotes public awareness of the need for support of people with brain disorders and disabilities The Silver Ribbon Coalition is represented by advocates for all types of brain disorders (hence, "Coalition"), not just neuropsychiatric disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. This aspect of the Coalition is a subtle but important tool for destigmatization because it underscores the fact that schizophrenia is a brain disorder before it is "mental illness", an expression that as we all know can be stigmatizing.

Okay. So, imagine a grocery store line where someone sees your Silver Ribbon and asks, "What does the Silver Ribbon represent?" Or, alternatively, where you see another person wearing a Silver Ribbon. Before you know it you’re sharing stories, you about schizophrenia, him/her about his child with autism. This is how we break the silence. Creating opportunities to share our experiences. This is how we get others to view schizophrenia for what it is – a very serious brain disorder. This is how we get others to financially support advocacy and research endeavors for schizophrenia or just to simply become more knowledgeable.

To see how you can help make the Silver Ribbon visible, and all it stands for promoted, please visit:

Silver Ribbon for Brain Disorders: Many Ways to Help...


I LOVE this idea of a ribbon colour - the colour of our brain - to display for brain disorders. After all - they, too, affect so many people both directly and indirectly.

Posted by: Naomi at December 21, 2006 02:16 PM

This is a good idea. I especially like that it highlights that 'schizophrenia is a brain disorder before it is "mental illness", an expression that as we all know can be stigmatizing'.

Posted by: x-G-x at January 2, 2007 06:59 AM

Why would you tell people about an illness that means that you can be locked up and drugged on someone else's say-so?

I'm sorry; some things are meant to be private.

Posted by: Lola at January 2, 2007 07:02 PM

There are many people who are uncomfortable being communicative about schizophrenia in a family member (or in themselves). The more people who "come-out-of-the-closet" and share the extremely serious nature of this brain disorder, the more informed the public will become, and thus the more compassionate and the more likely to lobby for funds to achieve better treatments, cures, and social services for those in need. However, I am in complete understanding for those, like yourself, Lola, who feel this is a "private" issue. It is your perogative. I'm just happy that not all take your position, because if that were so, the general public would perceive that there is something to be ashamed of (or frightened or other-supply-your own adjective), and the myths applied to mental illness would be perpetuated, and the disgraceful inequity in funding and services for this medical disorder would continue.

Posted by: Meggin at January 3, 2007 10:53 AM

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