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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Department of Health and Human Services
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

Last Updated: 6/22/2012

SAMHSA’s Resource Center to Promote Acceptance,
Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with
Mental Health (ADS Center)


Silver Ribbon Coalition
Simi Valley, California USA

Start Date

Brief Description
The Silver Ribbon Coalition was originally founded in 1993 as the Silver Ribbon Campaign for the Brain by Jean Liechty after she had a family experience with schizophrenia. In 2004, the Silver Ribbon Campaign for the Brain was renamed in order to incorporate and represent the combined interests of all individuals who have a brain disorder or disability, including those individuals with mental illnesses. The coalition emphasizes that increasing public awareness will result in improved treatments, eventual cures, and decreased stigma for those with brain disorders and disabilities.

After experiencing the stigma that exists towards individuals with mental illnesses, Jean Liechty recognized that many individuals with brain disorders and their families do not receive the public support that serious non-brain-related physical disorders receive. She recognized that symbolic campaigns for other stigmatized diseases such as HIV and AIDS had been successful in promoting public support and funding for research. She realized that the creation of an awareness symbol for brain disorders and disabilities could likely have a similar result; therefore, she created the silver ribbon.

Initially, silver ribbons were made of silver wrapping ribbon. By 1997, metallic pins in the shape of a silver ribbon were created and distributed. By 1999, a Web site for the campaign was launched and a trademark for the silver ribbon symbol was issued. Since then according to Liechty, the silver ribbon has become the official symbol for Promoting Public Awareness of the Need for Support of People With Brain Disorders and Disabilities.

Since its development in 1993, the Silver Ribbon Coalition has grown to include other promotional products in addition to the silver pin, including jewelry, apparel, and stickers. Since 2000, more than 200,000 Silver Ribbon pins have been distributed and the Silver Ribbon movement expanded into Japan, Mexico, and Singapore. Silver Ribbon pins and products are unofficially distributed in countries around the globe.

A drive in support of a Silver Ribbon first-class postage stamp was launched in 1999. More than 100,000 letters of support have been sent thus far to the United States Postal Service, including one in August 2006 from former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn.

Since the launch of a newly redesigned Web site in September 2006, sales of Silver Ribbon products have increased. Active Minds and National Alliance for Mental Illness members have organized campaigns to publicize and distribute Silver Ribbon products and market the Web site.

Additional information about the Silver Ribbon Coalition can be obtained via the Coalition Web site at

Silver Ribbon products can be ordered by accessing the NARSAD Artworks Web site at


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This Web site was developed under contract with the Office of Consumer Affairs in SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services. The views, opinions, and content provided on this Web site do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of SAMHSA or HHS. The resources listed in this Web site are not all-inclusive and inclusion on this Web site does not constitute an endorsement by SAMHSA or HHS.