Duly Noted . . .

‘Opening Minds Ending Stigma’ campaign aims to raise awareness about mental illness and seeking help



One in five young people between the ages of 14 to 24 will experience mental illness.  Left untreated, it can cause bigger problems later on.

The Ethel and James Flinn Foundation — a Detroit-based private grant-making organization with a mission to improve the quality, scope and delivery of mental health services for people in Michigan (www.flinnfoundation.org) —  and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) have teamed up to change the conversation with young people about mental illness. With May being National Mental Health Awareness Month, the partners will launch a statewide campaign, “Opening Minds Ending Stigma.”

The effort will include the broadcast of “Opening Minds Ending Stigma: Early Intervention is Key,” a documentary special premiering Friday, May 27 at 7 p.m. on WOTV in Grand Rapids, and Saturday, May 28, at 7 p.m. on CBS 62 in Detroit and WOOD TV-8 in Grand Rapids.

The 30-minute film features inspiring and candid stories of young Michigan residents and families impacted by mental illness, illuminates the challenges presented by mental disorders, the stigma that often delays effective treatment, and that recovery is possible.  Leading Michigan-based experts in pediatric care, educators, parent/child relationships and peer support programs also appear to bring greater understanding of the importance of early intervention.

“Treating mental illness shouldn’t be viewed any differently than treating physical illnesses,” said Andrea Cole, executive director and CEO of the Ethel and James Flinn Foundation.

“Too often the stigma associated with mental illness prevents our youth from seeking help,” said Nick Lyon, director with the MDHHS.   “Thanks to the tremendous programs in our communities highlighted in this campaign, more youth are being connected to resources, and we hope to see programs such as these continue to grow across Michigan.”

Following the May broadcast premiere (check local listings), the “Early Intervention is Key” video may be accessed without charge for educational and community use at www.endingstigma.org.   

Other resources to continue the conversation will be an on-going web and social media campaign, along with plans for a September production in the “Opening Minds Ending Stigma” series.