Roughly one in every four adults and one in five children will experience a diagnosable mental disorder during their lifetime. Here in Sacramento County, it is estimated that nearly 355,000 residents live with a mental illness, but research shows that only one-third will seek professional help primarily due to the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness.
In recognition of Mental Illness Awareness Week – October 2-8, 2016 – a national observance sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Sacramento County’s “Mental Illness: It’s not always what you think” project is encouraging residents to shine a light on mental illness and participate in local activities that bring awareness to mental illness.
Activities center around four days of recognition:
- October 3: National Day without Stigma
- October 4: National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding
- October 6: National Depression Screening Day
- October 10: World Mental Health Day
Below are a few ideas on how you can get involved in this important health event:
Since its inception in 2012, the “Mental Illness: It’s not always what you think” project, which is led by the Sacramento County Division of Behavioral Health Services, has worked to promote messages of hope and recovery, encourage conversation around mental illness, and underscore that mental illness can impact anyone. In the last five years, the project has:
- Initiated and grown an accomplished Stop Stigma Sacramento Speakers Bureau of 127 trained speakers, living with mental illness, that have spoken at more than 149 events to date
- Distributed more than 190,000 program materials, including brochures, posters and tip cards available in multiple languages, to more than 70 community organizations throughout Sacramento County
- Developed an advertising campaign throughout the County, including TV, radio, online and outdoor advertising, such as billboards, gas pump toppers and on buses in multiple languages
- Hosted annual art displays, featuring artwork from mental health groups and individuals throughout Sacramento County at various venues to raise awareness about the project and spread messages of hope
- Been featured in segments and news articles by local and ethnic media outlets, such as KFBK, Good Day Sacramento, BuzzFeed, Capital Public Radio, The Sacramento Bee, The Sacramento Observer and Radio TNT, among others
The project has recently unveiled its new youth-focused PSA, which features members of the youth community within Sacramento County and aims to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness among young people.
For more information on the “Mental Illness: it’s not always what you think” project, please visit www.stopstigmasacramento.org, and follow the project on Facebook and Twitter. Residents can also call 2-1-1 Sacramento (2-1-1 or TTY 916-446-1434), a free information and referral service for the community.
Funding for this project has been made possible through the Sacramento County, Division of Behavioral Health Services, Mental Health Services Act (MHSA).