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Making It Easier to Talk About Mental Health

New Campaign Encourages Illinois Residents to Say it out loud

CHICAGO, May 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With data suggesting that one in five Illinois residents is experiencing a mental health challenge at any one time, a new public education campaign was launched today to promote good mental health and to empower those living with a mental health issue to Say it out loud. The campaign seeks to promote good mental health for every child and adult in Illinois, lower the barriers that prevent people from either seeking or offering help and support, and build a larger and stronger base of community support for an effective network of treatment services and programs.

The new statewide public education and engagement campaign is jointly sponsored by the State of Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health, and the Illinois Children's Mental Health Partnership, a network of more than 30 organizations across the state. While other campaigns have used emotional appeals and dramatic imagery to draw attention to the issue of mental health, Say it out loud reflects a strength-based approach that presents mental health as a critical component of overall health and well-being.

The campaign was unveiled today at a rally on Chicago's Navy Pier as the state began its annual observance of Mental Health Awareness Month, which Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich has proclaimed as Say it out loud Month for May 2008. Scores of mental health advocates joined those who are living today with mental health challenges at the rally, with many wearing the campaign's signature yellow T-shirt emblazoned with Say it out loud in blue.

"In today's stressful world, everything we do to promote good mental health in ourselves and the people we care about contributes to more healthy, balanced, productive, happy lives," said Lorrie Rickman Jones, Ph.D., Director of Mental Health for the Illinois Department of Human Services. "And help is available for those who need it. But, too often we're reluctant to ask the right questions, or to express our concern or support. This campaign is about helping people find an easier way to talk about this critical component of our total health."

According to Rickman Jones, while 70-90 percent of mental health diagnoses are treatable, data shows that fewer than half of the people who experience these mental health challenges actually seek treatment.

"There are so many things we can do to promote good mental health in our children, starting when they are infants, to encourage and support their social and emotional development," said Barbara Shaw, Director of the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority and Chair of the Illinois Children's Mental Health Partnership. "This campaign urges parents and caregivers to initiate conversations about their child's social and emotional development with people they trust, such as their pediatrician, and to ask for help when they need it."

The Say it out loud campaign is based on current research indicating that the best way to address the misperceptions associated with mental illnesses is by giving people the opportunity to engage with one another on the subject in a meaningful way and to share their experiences and knowledge. Thus, the campaign is using the stories of real people in advertisements being distributed to newspapers and radio stations in every county of the state, and through videos featured on the campaign's new Web site, The campaign also promotes a new toll-free telephone line providing access to mental health resources and referrals through the Illinois Mental Health Collaborative for Access and Choice (866-359-7953 or 866-880-4459 TTY).

The campaign describes five steps that every Illinois resident can take to help promote good mental health for themselves and the people they care about:

-- Talk with someone who seems stressed or down. Let them know you care.

-- Ask for help from someone you trust if you think you or your child might

need it.

-- Speak with your child's doctor or teachers about how to encourage

your child's social and emotional development.

-- Encourage policy leaders to make children's and adult mental health

a top priority.

-- Find out how you can promote good mental health by visiting the

campaign's Web site,

The Division of Mental Health is housed in the state's Department of Human Services, which is led by Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D., and provides a wide variety of services at all levels for adults and children throughout the state. These services are offered through hundreds of providers, including mental health clinics, agencies and hospitals.

The Illinois Children's Mental Health Partnership was created by the Children's Mental Health (CMH) Act of 2003 and charged with developing, implementing and monitoring a statewide plan to promote the mental health and well-being of children from birth through eighteen years of age. The partnership is comprised of more than 30 members appointed by the Governor who represent families, child advocates, education, early childhood, health, mental health, child welfare, juvenile justice, substance abuse, violence prevention, and others. Relevant state agencies and state legislators are also included in the partnership.

For more information about the Say it out loud campaign, which is slated to run through May 2010, visit

Satellite coordinates for tomorrow's uplink of footage from the Say it out loud rally:

Date: Thursday, May 1, 2008 Downlink Freq: 11720 MHz (V)

Time: 2:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. (CT); Bandwidth: 36 MHz

Satellite: AMC 15 (KU) Orbital Pos: 105 degrees west

Transponder: 01 Full Audio Sub-Carrier: 6.2 & 6.8

For technical assistance call IIS at 217.785.5499

Media contact: Lindsay J. Keller

202-380-3116 (office), 571-275-0994 (cell)

SOURCE State of Illinois Department of Human Services, Divisionof Mental
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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