DENVER, May 1, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "Let's Talk Colorado," a new public health campaign funded by State Innovation Model (SIM) dollars, spotlights the stigma around mental illness so that the people who need this type of help are more likely to seek it. Despite the availability of effective evidence-based treatment, about 40 percent of individuals with serious mental illness do not receive care.
"We need to get to the place where we understand that mental health challenges are like physical health challenges," said John M. Douglas, Jr. M.D., executive director of Tri-County Health Department, the agency leading the campaign. "When someone breaks their leg we don't expect them to 'just snap out of it' or think they somehow brought it on themselves."
The campaign launching in May, Mental Health Month, urges everyone to talk openly about mental health issues and to talk with people who are impacted by mental illness. One in five people struggle with a mental health condition. In fact, people with mental health challenges like anxiety, depression or eating disorders are as common as silver cars.
Let's Talk Colorado includes a website that includes ideas on how talk about mental illness, a toolkit of resources including a video, mental health stigma presentation, fliers and a newsletter article. The materials, created after a series of focus groups, draw from an award-winning campaign from Minnesota called "Make It OK."
People who need immediate support due to a mental health crisis should contact, or have a family member or friend contact, Colorado Crisis Services at 1.844.493.TALK(8255). This agency has trained counselors who are available 24/7/365 to work with persons in crisis and the people supporting them.
The campaign stresses that talking about mental illness and a person's mental health struggles can "save a life," so it's worth dealing with some awkwardness or embarrassment at not knowing what to say. The effort also emphasizes that treatment for mental health issues does help in most instances, so persons with mental health symptoms, like anxiety or trouble sleeping, should be urged to see a physician or therapist.
Let's Talk Colorado was created by a coalition of organizations including: 9Health Fair, Aurora Mental Health Center, Boulder County Public Health, Broomfield Public Health, Centura/Denver South Group, Children's Hospital Colorado, Clinica Family Health, ClinicNet, Community Reach Center, Denver Public Health, Doctors Care, Douglas County Government, Jefferson Center for Mental Health, Jefferson County Public Health, Mental Health Center of Denver, Metro Community Provider Network, SCL Health, Sheridan Health Services, Tri-County Health Department and West Pines Behavioral Health.
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SOURCE The Evolution Agency, LLC