As we recognize Mental Health Awareness Month this May, we would be remiss not to acknowledge the mental and emotional impacts many of us are likely experiencing in response to recent traumatic events in our community, tragic conflict and wars taking place across the globe, and the lingering impacts of the pandemic.
This May, and always, the Sacramento County Division of Behavioral Health’s MHSA-funded “Mental Illness: It’s not always what you think” project is continuing to raise awareness about the importance of mental health while reducing stigma and inspiring hope and positivity in our community, particularly for individuals and families living with mental illness.
Mental illness can happen to anyone, no matter your age, ethnicity or gender. Here in Sacramento County, it is estimated that over 300,000 residents live with a mental health condition, but only one-third of those individuals will seek professional help primarily due to the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness.
Over the past 10 years, the project has been focused on reducing stigma, raising mental health awareness and inspiring hope for individuals, and families, who are living with a mental health condition. Every May, the project invites community members throughout Sacramento County to participate in a variety of events to improve understanding around mental illness, share stories and support those living with mental health conditions, and this year is no different.
While we proudly commemorate this 10-year milestone, we know that our community continues to face times of uncertainty and heightened stress. This month provides all of us with an opportunity and a reminder to reach out to loved ones and provide support to colleagues, friends and family who may be struggling in silence. By simply starting a conversation and providing words of encouragement, kindness and help, you can make all the difference for someone at work, at home or in your community.
Stay connected and prioritize your mental health:
- Try these conversation starters – available in 5 additional languages – and lead meaningful discussions with family, friends or neighbors.
- Attend an upcoming project event:
- Mark your calendars for the Sacramento River Cats game on May 21! Support the efforts of the project and CalMHSA by purchasing your tickets online and be sure to visit the project’s booth at the game.
- Join the project on May 25th for Mental Health Matters Day on the Capitol Lawn! Learn more about the project, hear from Speakers Bureau members and write on the Walls of Hope.
- Visit the project’s mental health art exhibits around Sacramento County! This year, you can also view all art virtually. All art has been created by Sacramento County residents in an effort to help dispel myths and stereotypes and promote messages of wellness, hope and recovery.
- Watch and share Stop Stigma’s new 30-second PSA featuring Sacramento residents and Speakers Bureau members.
- Read stories from the project’s Speakers Bureau to understand different experiences of living with, or supporting someone living with, a mental illness.
- Follow Stop Stigma Sacramento on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Visit the project website to join the mailing list and receive regular updates throughout the year.
For more information on Sacramento County’s “Mental Illness: It’s not always what you think” project, and to find mental health resources for yourself and others during this stressful time, please visit www.stopstigmasacramento.org or contact the project team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This program is funded by the Division of Behavioral Health Services through the voter approved Proposition 63, Mental Health Services Act (MHSA).