Wisconsin Department of Health Services
Press Release

“Saying, Not Saying” Campaign Aims to Reduce Mental Health Stigma

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

By - May 21st, 2024 02:35 pm

“How are you?” On the surface, it’s such a simple question–and it usually gets a simple answer. For those experiencing a mental health concern, the answer may not be simple. What they say and how they feel can be very different things. They hold back the truth for fear of judgement.

Reducing this ear of judgement is the goal of the “Saying, Not Saying” campaign created by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS). In revealing the things left unsaid when answering “how are you?”, this campaign points to some signs of mental health concerns like body aches, inability to concentrate, inability to get out of bed, loss of appetite, losing interest in hobbies, and trouble sleeping. This awareness and common understanding of mental health helps create a safe space where people feel they can be honest when answering the question “how are you?”

“For far too long, many people have found it difficult to talk about mental health,” said DHS Secretary-designee Kirsten Johnson. “Yet, caring for our mental health is as important as caring for our physical health. Since you can’t see inside someone’s mind, it’s harder to understand, and difficult to discuss like you might talk about a physical illness or injury. It’s time to help people understand the importance of mental health and that it is okay to talk about it and seek help when needed.”

The “Saying, Not Saying” campaign is being shared on broadcast and streaming radio, on social media, on websites, and in print now through August. The advertisements direct people to findsupportwi.org for resources to support positive mental health. It also includes tips on things people can say when they’re not fine, as well as what can be said when someone tells you they’re fine, but you know they’re not. The webpage also features materials individuals and organizations can share to promote this campaign in their communities.

The “Saying, Not Saying” campaign is based on focus groups and surveys of Wisconsinites that found a need to make mental health more visible, so people are not judged for experiencing mental health concerns.

People who have mental health or substance use concerns of their own or have concerns about a friend or loved one can get free, confidential support from the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. A trained counselor is available 24/7 by calling or texting 988 or chatting at 988lifeline.org.

Governor Tony Evers has proclaimed May as Mental Health Awareness Month to bring attention to mental health issues and reduce the stigma experienced by people with mental health concerns.

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. While it is believed to be reliable, Urban Milwaukee does not guarantee its accuracy or completeness.

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