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Anthem Blue Cross Foundation Supports National Campaign Focused on Depression Among Men
Date:5/20/2008

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., May 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Depression is a serious but treatable health condition that affects more than six million American men. This condition will be the focus of a national campaign during Mental Health Awareness Month in May, called Men Get Depression, which is supported by the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation, the charitable giving arm of Anthem Blue Cross.

The Men Get Depression National Awareness Campaign is an effort to increase knowledge, reduce stigma, and promote screening and treatment for male depression. State of the Art, an Academy Award(R)-winning communications company began developing the project more than six years ago. Funding for the research, development and evaluation of the outreach materials was provided by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. In addition to Anthem Blue Cross Foundation, support for the outreach, and broadcast dissemination was provided by Charles E. Kubly Foundation, Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, Community Voices: Healthcare for the Underserved at Morehouse School of Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Carson J. Spencer Foundation.

"Men and women of all ages, economic status, racial and ethnic backgrounds can be affected by symptoms of depression," said Leslie A. Margolin, president of Anthem Blue Cross. "Given the continued prevalence of depression and its associated costs to individuals and society, we are pleased to support, through our charitable foundation, this effort to create awareness around the symptoms and treatments for this condition."

Included in this campaign is a one-hour documentary, which began airing on public television stations in California in early May 2008, that explores the corrosive effect of depression on the self, relationships and careers through the intimate profiles of real men, including a former NFL Quarterback, a Fortune 500 CEO, an Iraq War veteran, a university professor, a pastor and others.

To broaden the reach of the campaign, outreach partnerships have already been established with a number of leading national and community-based mental health organizations. On May 22nd, Mental Health America of San Diego County will be featuring Men Get Depression at their annual Healthy Minds Luncheon in the Presidential Ballroom of the US Grant Hotel. Eric Hipple, former NFL quarterback for the Detroit Lions and campaign spokesperson, will speak at the event.

A Web site was also developed to serve as a resource center and guide for community organizations, employers, churches and individuals, who can download free resources, a community toolkit and film clips at http://www.mengetdepression.com. Additionally, due to the barriers to both awareness and treatment of mental illness and mental health care within the Latino and African American communities, outreach activities will include a specific focus on reaching men and their families within these communities. To increase access and usability, all materials have been developed in English and Spanish, reviewed for low literacy and closed captioned.

About the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation

Through charitable grant making, the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation promotes Anthem Blue Cross' inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that the company serves. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to reduce the number of uninsured as well as organizations and nonprofit charities that promote the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company's annual associate giving campaign and provides a 50 percent match of associates' campaign pledges.

The Anthem Blue Cross Foundation is an affiliate of the WellPoint Foundation. To learn more about the WellPoint Foundation please visit http://www.wellpointfoundation.org .

About Anthem Blue Cross:

Anthem Blue Cross is the trade name of Blue Cross of California. Anthem Blue Cross and Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company are independent licensees of the Blue Cross Association. (R) ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross Association.


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