‘Boost Your Mood’: Philly launches campaign to destigmatize mental health

Janet Nemec and her husband Dale walk beneath blossoming trees along Kelly Drive

Janet Nemec, left, stands with her husband Dale beneath blossoming trees along Kelly Drive in Philadelphia, Friday, April 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

This May, Philadelphia officials want residents to prioritize their mental health, along with their physical health.

The city is rolling out a new campaign called “Boost Your Mood” to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Month.

The initiative, spearheaded by the city’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS), aims to make it easier for people to talk about mental health and get access to free services.

City officials stressed that “it’s OK to not be OK,” alluding to the particular type of uncertainty and stress that has accompanied the coronavirus pandemic, civil unrest due to police violence, recent incidents of anti-Asian hate, and the trauma of gun violence.

“These past 14 months of isolation, and uncertainty — coupled with financial insecurity, political and social unrest, and increased violence — have had a powerful impact on us all,” DBHIDS Commissioner Jill Bowen said in a press release.

“Trauma can affect people in different ways, and can negatively affect behavioral wellness. However it affects you and your loved ones, DBHIDS is here to help.”

The campaign’s website features mental health resources available to Philadelphians, including a free mental health self-screening and new resources to help address trauma and violence.

Residents — whether they have insurance or not — will find a collection of “numbers to know and places to go” that span a network of health care providers to help address their behavioral health needs.

Also included are resources that touch on intersecting areas of health, such as COVID-19 vaccination and substance use treatment.

The department, in partnership with Radio One, also plans to host Mental Health Monday segments that will air on 100.3 R&B and Hip-Hop and Classix 107.9 throughout the month, featuring experts and people living with mental health issues.

“These are difficult times,” the department said. “You are not alone.”

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If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The hotline is staffed 24/7 by trained counselors who can offer free, confidential support. Spanish speakers can call 1-888-628-9454. People who are deaf or hard of hearing can call 1-800-799-4889. Help can also be accessed through the Crisis Text Line by texting “HOME” to 741-741.

Broke in PhillyWHYY is one of over 20 news organizations producing Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project on solutions to poverty and the city’s push towards economic justice. Follow us at @BrokeInPhilly.

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