Raise Awareness of Mental Illness

Whether or not you realize it, you play an important role in helping those experiencing a mental health challenge.

Mental illness affects one in five adults in any given year. It could be a loved one, a friend or a co-worker.

The County is sponsoring a Mental Health Awareness Week, May 9 through 13, 2016, as part of May is Mental Health Month. Chief Administrative Officer Helen Robbins-Meyer kicked off this important event in her InTouch column.

The goal is to help people feel comfortable having open conversations about mental health challenges and to encourage people to seek help.

“The fear of being rejected and the stigma associated with mental health disorders keep some adults from getting the help they need for themselves or their children,” said Alfredo Aguirre, director of the County’s Behavioral Health Services for the Health and Human Services Agency. “Each of us has a role in creating an environment that supports recovery and encourages social inclusion. We all play a role in reducing the stigma and the resulting discrimination toward those living with a mental illness.”

So what can you do to get involved and show your support?

  1. Create awareness by wearing your lime green ribbon. Over 17,000 ribbons will be distributed to County staff in support of the week.

  2. Learn more about how mental health stigma affects most of us and what you can do to help change the perception of those struggling with a mental illness.

  3. Take the daily mental health challenges below starting May 9. It’s a great way to get involved every day, and you can share your support on social media for a chance to win fun prizes. (For more details, click on the link for each day.)

Monday: Wear the lime green ribbon handed out by your department to show your support. Lime green is the national color for mental health awareness.

Tuesday: Don’t miss out on your chance to add your name to the Lime Green Ribbon wall. There are many locations across the County. Snap a photo at the ribbon wall or take a selfie with your ribbon. Then share your photos with the hashtag #EachMindMattersSD on your social media outlet throughout the week to win prizes!

Wednesday: It’s Wellness Wednesday! Make time to take a deep breath, help someone out, make a healthy choice, or exercise. 

Thursday: Make a social connection, volunteer or try something new today.

Friday: Get inspired and watch at least one 60-second PSA developed for youth by youth

Saturday and Sunday: Wear your lime green ribbon all weekend and talk to your family and friends about why Each Mind Matters to you.

If you or a loved one is experiencing a mental health crisis and need immediate help, call the County’s Access and Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240. Non-crisis resources for staff are also available through the County’s Employee Assistance Program at (888) 777-6665 or www.anthemeap.com.