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 Date: May 24, 2004
Media Contact: Shelly Burgess
Phone: 301-443-8956

 

 

SAMHSA Launches Multimedia Mental Health Education Effort 

  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) today 

launched a multimedia public education effort aimed at increasing awareness of the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness.  The campaign, “Mental Health: It’s Part of All Our Lives,” includes broadcast and print public service advertisements that seek to educate the public that mental illnesses are common, affecting almost every family in America, and that recovery can be expected.

The campaign is a three-year initiative in eight states:  California, Florida, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin. The educational materials feature people who have experienced mental illnesses, and emphasize the key contributions that people with mental illnesses make in our communities—and our lives.  Following the campaign in these eight states, SAMHSA will evaluate the effectiveness of the program, and then if effective, launch a national dissemination effort.

“All Americans must understand that effective treatments and supports for mental illnesses exist and that people do recover,” said SAMHSA Administrator Charles G. Curie. “The fear and stigma that surround mental health problems make it harder for people to access treatment, find employment or obtain housing.  Fortunately, everyone can do something to help reduce stigma.”

SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates that 17.5 million adults aged 18 or older had serious mental illness in 2002.  Through a variety of outreach efforts, this campaign, part of SAMHSA’s Elimination of Barriers Initiative (EBI), hopes to promote greater public understanding and acceptance of people with mental illnesses.

The educational materials direct people who would like more information about mental health to SAMHSA’s National Mental Health Information Center (1-800-789-2647) — as well as to Web sites in English and Spanish, www.allmentalhealth.samhsa.gov and www.nuestrasaludmental.samhsa.gov.

The internet sites include information on the myths and facts about mental health; descriptions of a variety of mental health disorders; links to referral information on accessing mental health services; free materials; information on what people can do to address stigma and discrimination; stories of real people and their experiences with mental illnesses; and resources in each of the pilot states.  Specific materials are also in development targeting employers and high school administrators.

The EBI is a collaborative effort among SAMHSA  and the eight State Mental Health Authorities, in partnership with mental health consumers, family members, advocates, providers, and a range of national and state mental health organizations.   With technical support from the EBI, the pilot states are also undertaking an array of other strategies to counter stigma and discrimination such as speakers’ bureaus, music festivals, health fairs, and celebrations of recovery.  As part of the EBI, these efforts, along with the educational materials, are being evaluated to determine their effectiveness.  At the end of EBI in 2005, findings will be compiled into an evaluation report used to guide future mental health education activities.

 
 
 

SAMHSA, a public health agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the lead federal agency for improving the quality and availability of substance abuse prevention, addiction treatment and mental health services in the United States.

 
 

 

 

This page was last updated on 24 May, 2004
SAMHSA is An Agency of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services