Health department launches media campaign promoting free mental wellness counseling

Mental health experts at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) have begun a statewide media campaign urging residents to seek relief from COVID-19-related emotional distress by talking to a trained crisis counselor and learning about other help available.

The “Be Kind to Your Mind” campaign promotes the use of Michigan’s free, confidential Stay Well counseling line, and aims to combat stigma associated with seeking help for feelings of depression, anxiety, anger or loss – all common during a disaster like COVID-19.

The Stay Well counseling line debuted on May 13, and is staffed with crisis counselors 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Callers can access the line by dialing Michigan’s COVID-19 hotline at 888-535-6136 and pressing “8” at the prompt.

The service is part of a federally funded grant program implemented by the MDHHS Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Administration in partnership with the Michigan State Police.

“Many of us are having a hard time right now,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “There should be zero shame and zero stigma – just honesty that can help each of us find our own inner strength.”

According to a recent online survey of 99,000 households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, more than one-third of American adults report symptoms of depressive and/or anxiety disorder — triple the rate reported in 2019.

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