Get Involved to Help Stop Stigma in Your Community
SACRAMENTO, CA. May 2, 2014 - As part of its countywide mental health stigma and discrimination reduction effort, the ”Mental Illness: It’s not always what you think” project, the Sacramento County Division of Behavioral Health Services (DBHS) is hosting several activities and encouraging local residents to get involved in honor of Mental Health Month.
In Sacramento County, an estimated 355,000 residents live with mental illness, but research shows that only one-third of those individuals will seek professional help primarily due to the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness.
“Stigma is a major barrier to people seeking help when they need it. That’s why Mental Health Month is extremely important,” said Dr. Sherri Z. Heller, Director of Sacramento County’s Department of Health and Human Services. “We want people to learn more about mental health and start conversations within their communities. The more people know about mental illness, the better they can help themselves or help their loved ones get the help and support they need.”
There are several ways to help reduce stigma and get involved during May is Mental Health Month:
- May 5-9: Visit the art display along the wall outside of the governor’s office at the State Capitol which features art pieces from local Sacramento County residents. The artwork was created by people of all ages and cultures who are supporters of increasing awareness about mental health issues and decreasing stigma and stereotypes in Sacramento County and in California.
- May 8 – Attend a Mental Health Month celebration on the North Steps of the State Capitol Building from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Hosted by the project, the event will feature a Wall of Hope, where attendees can write and display messages of hope and recovery.
- May 17 – Walk With a Doc at Freedom Park, North Highlands. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. and the one-mile walk starts at 9:00 a.m. This walk will be led by local psychiatrist, Elizabeth Gutierrez, MD.
- May 1 – 31: Share your personal story of hope and recovery to help stop stigma and discrimination toward people and families living with mental illness. Telling your story may encourage others to share their experiences and may end the silence that contributes to isolation and shame.
- May 1 – 31: Join the Stop Stigma Sacramento Speakers Bureau. Check out the project website for more information on how you can share your story of hope and inspiration with community groups and others throughout Sacramento County.
- May 1 – 31: Learn more about reducing stigma and discrimination at StopStimaSacramento.org and follow the project on Twitter and ‘like’ the project on Facebook.
For more information on Sacramento County’s “Mental Illness: It’s not always what you think” project, please 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. Calls are always confidential and interpreters are available.
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