Opening Minds

“Opening Minds Ending Stigma: Breaking Barriers”

“Opening Minds Ending Stigma: Breaking Barriers,” a riveting 30-minute documentary, airs in Detroit and Grand Rapids in May.  Exact show times include:

  • Sunday, May 21 at 11:30 a.m. on WXYZ-TV Channel 7 in Detroit and
  • Saturday, May 27 at 7 p.m. on WOOD-TV 8 in Grand Rapids. 

It impacts every family, every neighborhood, every race and religion. But mental health conditions are treatable.

The program features candid and inspiring stories of Michigan families impacted by mental illness, who, following treatment and recovery, are actively involved in mental health advocacy and support.

OPENING MINDS ENDING STIGMA, a statewide campaign launched a year ago by the Ethel and James Flinn Foundation and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, is debuting a new mental health awareness broadcast in May to coincide with Mental Health Month.

While one in five people will experience a mental health condition in a given year, too often help is not sought. Often it is stigma that may come from our own expectations, our family’s, as well as cultural and religious views that present additional roadblocks. Communities of color are often more reluctant to talk about mental health (the National Alliance on Mental Illness found African Americans are 20-percent more likely to experience severe mental health conditions). But there is help!

Mental illness is a health condition, that is treatable –just as physical conditions like diabetes or heart disease. Research has shown people with mental health conditions can live full productive lives.  Research has also shown that without proper treatment, mental health conditions can worsen and make day-to-day life difficult.

Andrea Cole, Executive Director and CEO of the Ethel and James Flinn Foundation said “We are working hard to improve access to mental health treatment which should be part of everyone’s routine health care. We know that early intervention and treating the whole body in an integrated approach is critical and helps reduce stigma by normalizing care.”

Cole added “But we also have to change some of the misconceptions about mental health. The goal of this campaign is to continue this conversation within our homes, schools, places of worship and health care community to educate ourselves about mental health so we are more comfortable seeking help and able to get treatment when we need it.”

Lynda Zeller, Deputy Director of the Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Administration at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said the state’s goal is to make public community mental health services as accessible as possible.

“There are 46 Community Mental Health Services Programs in Michigan serving all 83 counties,” Zeller said. “You can always seek help at Community Mental Health. There are crisis lines 24-7.   Counseling centers in universities and colleges are also very good places to seek help.”

Following the May broadcasts, “Opening Minds Ending Stigma: Breaking Barriers” may be accessed without charge for educational and community use at www.endingstigma.org.  The conversation is also continuing with an on-going web and social media campaign, including public services announcements.

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The Ethel and James Flinn Foundation is 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. For more information, visit www.flinnfoundation.org.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services provides opportunities, services, and programs that promote a healthy, safe and stable environment for residents to be self-sufficient. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/mdhhs.