'SEE ME' campaign looks to overcome mental health stigma

Published: Dec. 13, 2019 at 10:12 PM MST
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A statewide initiative is looking to end a stigma. It’s called the ‘SEE ME’ campaign and focuses on how we as Coloradans can address mental health and addiction. The campaign officially kicked off on Wednesday in Denver.

“There are people that are hurting, they don’t want to talk about it. In part they could be our veterans; they could be our kids at school,” says Kevin Barclay with the National Alliance on Mental Illness for the Western Slope.

Colorado Health Institute found that 47% of Coloradans who did not receive mental health services did not do so because they were concerned with stigma.

Data shows that here in Mesa County the suicide rate is higher than the national average.

“Part of it is a comparison thing. We’re comparing ourselves all the time to each other. Part of the time, that affects us and makes us feel a little bad,” says Barclay,

The campaign encourages A.C.T. - advocate, connect and talk- to overcome some of the stigma.

“It’s all about being seen: see my intentions and don’t misunderstand me or judge me. There’s not a direct demand but a call to action,” says Barclay.

Gov.Polis has shown support for the campaign and has set up a statewide task force to evaluate how the state handles and cares for mental health issues.

“Let’s look at the hope that we have. This could be the forefront of the connection piece,”says Barclay.

SEE ME Campaign offers the following:

• SEE ME pledge: Coloradans can sign to acknowledge that they will ask for help and help those around them when needed.

• 14-Day Challenge: Includes prompts ranging from engaging in the conversation about changing the behavioral health system, to new ways to pay it forward and see more than a diagnosis.

• Virtual story wall: Coloradans can submit their experiences with mental health conditions, addiction disorders and their experiences with Colorado’s behavioral health system.

“It’s definitely something that needs to be talked about and addressed more often because it has a bigger impact than we all think it does,” says Frederick Horn with the CMU Alliance on Mental Illness organization.