Millions of Americans – from every cultural, ethnic, racial, economic, religious and age group – face the reality of living with a mental health condition each year; nearly one out of every five children will experience emotional or behavioral difficulty in their lifetime.
This year’s theme is “Stigma Free,” and activities center around five days of recognition:
• Oct. 5: National Day without Stigma
• Oct. 6: National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding
• Oct. 8: National Bipolar Awareness Day
• Oct: 9: National Depression Screening Day
• Oct. 10: World Mental Health Day
Locally, Sacramento County residents can attend events like the Send Silence Packing exhibit
at Sacramento State or simply engage in conversations about mental health with loved ones.
Since its inception in 2012, the “Mental Illness: It’s not always what you think” project has worked to reduce stigma and discrimination, promote mental health and wellness, and inspire hope for people and families living with mental illness in Sacramento County. In the last four years the project has:
• Initiated and grown an accomplished Stop Stigma Sacramento Speakers Bureau
of 84 trained speakers, living
with mental illness, that have spoken at more than 100 events to date.
• 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 Capital Public Radio
, The Sacramento Bee, KCRA,
the Sacramento Observer and Radio TNT, among others.
Survey results indicate:
• Over the past four years, more people are continuing to see the project materials and advertisements, and are
more familiar with the campaign.
• People increasingly say that they would engage in positive behaviors, such as talking more openly about
mental illness or suggesting a friend or family member seek help.
• Comfort discussing specific mental illnesses with a health professional and interacting with people living with
mental illness continues to increase.
Additionally, the program has featured eight real members of the community who live with a mental illness in its advertising materials, such as this brochure.
Many of these individuals believe participating has opened the line of communication among the local community, acting as a significant step in reducing the stigma.
“I think it is important to show the world that there are very successful people living with mental illness and doing great things with their lives,” said Katie Williams, a graduate student at Sacramento State featured on project materials. “There is something so refreshing about knowing that your story can inspire others and can encourage them to keep going, despite their struggles.”
For more information, visit www.StopStigmaSacramento.org
. 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.
This program is funded by the Division of Behavioral Health Services through the voter approved Proposition 63, Mental Health Services Act (MHSA).