Thursday, January 30, 2014

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Talking About Mental Health

PhrenologyBack in July of 2013, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius began to spread the word about a new effort by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to raise awareness of mental health in the United States. The NAB started a public service announcement around a Tumblr page called OK2TALK.org aimed at teens and young adults suffering from mental illness.

Here is how they described what they were hoping to accomplish at the time:
The goal of OK2TALK is to create a community for teens and young adults struggling with mental health problems and encourage them to talk about what they’re experiencing by sharing their personal stories of recovery, tragedy, struggle or hope. Anyone can add their voice by sharing creative content such as poetry, inspirational quotes, photos, videos, song lyrics and messages of support in a safe, moderated space. We hope this is the first step towards getting help and feeling better.
The central message, that it is okay to talk about mental health, is an important one. Too many people do not receive help because they are afraid to ask or do not know where to go. A lack of information can fuel fear and lead to negative attitudes toward those suffering from mental illness. This may make it even less likely that those who need help will be willing to seek it.

Secretary Sebelius wrote:
Too often, misinformation and misperceptions lead to negative attitudes toward people with mental illness, and these negative attitudes can sometimes discourage our loved ones and colleagues from seeking help. And we know that mental health conditions are common – one in five Americans will experience a mental health problem in any given year. Yet 60% of people with mental health conditions and nearly 90% of people with substance use disorders don’t receive the care they need.
MentalHealth.gov was developed to serve as a resource for anyone seeking information on mental health. The site provides material designed to help individuals recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness and tips for how to talk to friends or family members about mental health.

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