New Campaign Seeks To Reduce Stigma Of Mental Illnesses

The federal government on Monday launched a $1 million public-service advertisement campaign that seeks to reduce the stigma associated with mental illnesses such as depression and bipolar disorder, USA Today reports. The campaign will first use radio and television ads to encourage young adults to support peers who have mental illnesses and later target seniors and individuals in rural areas. In 2005, nearly 25 million adults ages 18 and older had serious mental illnesses, 13.5 million of whom did not seek treatment, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The survey found that 26% of adults who had serious mental illnesses and did not seek treatment cited the stigma associated with the conditions as one of their main reasons. Kathryn Power, director of the Center for Mental Health Services at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, said, “If you have early and consistent support from your peers and you get appropriate treatment, then you have a much better chance of managing the illness over time,” adding, “It’s important as a friend in a relationship with someone recovering from mental illness that you exhibit social acceptance” (Leinwand, USA Today, 12/4).

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