I still have a few things coming in the mail, and there’s that stray aunt and uncle I can never figure out how to please, but overall, everything’s ordered, paid for, and marked off my list.
Oh, what a good feeling it is!
If you haven’t finished (or started – I know, we’ve already had Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but in the grand scheme of things it is still early) your holiday shopping, consider the following seven holiday gift ideas for mental health consumers and advocates.
1. Help out local mental health organizations.
Maybe you attend local support group meetings or are in some way involved in a local or community mental health organization. Or, maybe it’s a family member, friend, or other loved one of yours.
Either way, a donation to a local mental health organization can act as a gift to you, your loved one, and the community.
2. Donate to the Big Boys.
Organizations like the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and Mental Health America (MHA) accept donations year round. You could make a donation in someone’s name, or offer to pay their yearly membership fee.
3. Or, purchase gifts from their gift shops.
Lots of mental health charities and organizations have online shops, like the DBSA online store and NARSAD Artworks; usually, the proceeds from those purchases go toward helping the organization, mental health research, or some other mental health-related goal. Purchase a gift from one of these shops and you’re simultaneously helping the mental health advocacy effort.
4. Offer to help a mental health consumer.
Maybe someone you know is having trouble paying for his or her prescriptions, or finding transportation to counseling appointments or support group meetings. Consider paying for a month of medication (or whatever you can afford), or offering to drive the person to a few appointments or meetings.
5. Purchase “themed” items.
From Steven Tyler’s Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? to James Durbin’s Memories of a Beautiful Disaster, 2011 has seen a lot of products with certain human psyche themes or created by people who’ve overcome or learned to manage illnesses and disorders.
6. Shop with certain stores.
Purchase your holiday gifts from stores that donate a portion of proceeds to mental health efforts.
Some organizations, like the DBSA, make this super easy for you. For example, if you shop at any of the stores listed on the organization’s Online Shopping page (using the provided link), the DBSA receives a portion of the online purchase.
7. Shop through GoodSearch.com.
GoodSearch.com makes it possible for you to help out charities and organizations by shopping with your favorite stores. Staples, Macy’s, Sephora, Amazon, QVC, Avon, Apple, Best Buy – these are just a few of the stores you can shop with while helping out charities geared toward mental health and substance abuse. Check out the complete list of charities and decide which one you want to help with your holiday shopping.