As an intern for the Global Mental Health Program, I had the opportunity to learn different ways that we can work to improve awareness of mental health issues. One important way to do this was to create animations called Mental Health Minutes that highlighted important facts about specific mental health and behavioral disorders. Each intern was responsible for creating their own Mental Health Minute. To do this, we had to learn how to use a software called Vyond which assists you in creating settings for different scenes and animating the characters. It was very useful to learn this software. Not only was it fun to create my own animation, but I am sure that I will be able to use the software and skills again in the future to create creative messages about issues of importance.
For this project, each intern chose a mental health disorder to work on. I chose Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) because I have always been very interested in learning about ASD and how it effects the brain and behavior. Although I am unable to share my animation yet, I can share the script that I wrote for it.
I chose to bust common myths about ASD!
Myth #1: People with autism are intellectually disabled.
Fact: Individuals with ASD have normal to high IQs, even though testing them can be difficult and poorly reflect their capabilities.
Myth #2: Autism is caused by vaccines.
Fact: There is no reliable scientific evidence that vaccinations cause autism. There is reliable evidence, however, that skipping vaccines contributes to an increase in preventable and sometimes life-threatening diseases.
Myth #3: People with autism are cold and lack empathy and they are unable to form meaningful relationships.
Fact: Individuals with ASD are as, if not more, empathetic as others, but they may express themselves differently than we might be used to.
How to help: Advocacy, health services, physical programs and interventions are available for individuals and their families. Check out Autism Speaks for more information.