Contact: Samantha Mott
Sacramento County Celebrates Mental Health Month
The "Mental Illness: It's not always what you think" project marks its five-year anniversary
with Living Well Expo and activities to stop stigma and take action
In recognition of Mental Health Month and the five-year anniversary of the "Mental Illness: It's not always what you think" project, the
Sacramento County Division of Behavioral Health Services (DBHS) will be offering several opportunities for county residents to focus on
their wellness and mental health, help stop stigma and discrimination, and inspire hope for individuals living with mental illness.
Despite an estimated 355,000 Sacramento County residents living with mental illness, research shows that only one-third of those
individuals will seek the professional help they need primarily due to the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness. Five years
ago, in response to this issue, the County launched the "Mental Illness: It's not always what you think" project, which has helped to increase
awareness through a wide range of activities, including billboards and advertisements that feature real community members living
successfully with mental illness, community education events and the Stop Stigma Sacramento Speakers Bureau that consists of more than
127 individuals who share their personal stories of hope and inspiration throughout the community.
"Our goal is to fundamentally change negative attitudes and reduce stigma by raising awareness and showing that individuals living with
mental illness, like other health conditions, are people leading meaningful lives as our friends, neighbors, colleagues and family members,"
said Dr. Sherri Z. Heller, Director of Sacramento County's Department of Health and Human Services. "By working together, sharing
personal stories through the project's Stop Stigma Sacramento Speakers Bureau and other resources, and starting a conversation about
mental illness, we have the opportunity to change minds and attitudes, and make a real difference."
There are several ways to help reduce stigma and get involved during Mental Health Month:
- View expressive artwork from Sacramento County residents who are living with mental illness, or who support others that may be
living with mental illness.
- May 1 – 31: The Sacramento Poetry Center (1719 25th St., during normal business hours). An open house reception will take
place on Second Saturday, May 13.
- May 8-12: The Governor's Wall at the California State Capitol (1315 10th St., during normal business hours) will display artwork
along the outside of the Governor's office at the State Capitol. Admission is free.
- Take part in our 5-year anniversary Living Well Expo celebration
- May 13: Attend, and encourage your friends and family to attend, the Living Well Expo 2017 at Maple Neighborhood Center
(3301 37th Ave., 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.). Hosted by the project, this event is free and open to community members of all ages to
celebrate health, mental wellness and recovery. Attendees will benefit from free health screenings, living-well information
booths, art demonstrations and performances, fitness activities, educational sessions, refreshments and more.
- Join mental health advocates at the State Capitol
- May 24: Gather on the East Steps of the Capitol building (1315 10th St., 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.) for Mental Health Matters Day 2017
and enjoy speakers, entertainment and resource booths! The Each Mind Matters coalition has come together to plan and host
this very special day and believes passionately in the power of awareness, action and change to better the lives of individuals
living with mental illness.
Anytime in May:
- Show your support for individuals living with mental illness and pledge to reduce stigma by signing the digital Wall of Hope on the project website.
- Share your personal story of hope and recovery to help stop stigma and discrimination toward individuals 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.
- Join the Stop Stigma Sacramento Speakers Bureau or invite one of the compelling speakers to share their personal stories of hope and inspiration at an upcoming event.
- Learn more about reducing stigma and discrimination at StopStimaSacramento.org and show your support on social media by following the project on Twitter @StopStigmaSac and be sure to 'like' the project on Facebook and engage in positive mental health messages using the hashtag #StopStigma.
Funding for the "Mental Illness: It's not always what you think" project is made possible through the Sacramento County Division of
Behavioral Health Services, Mental Health Services Act. 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), a free information and referral service for the community. Residents who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing can call 7-1-1 to connect to 2-1-1. Calls are always confidential and interpreters are available.