New State Campaign Sparks Discussion About Mental Health

News Release
News Release
June 6, 2014

News Release
June 9, 2014

Mental health issues can leave people feeling isolated and ashamed. To counter misconceptionsabout mental illness and help connect people with resources, the Texas Department of State Health Services is today launching Speak Your Mind Texas, a statewide conversation about mental health that will spread the message that help is available and recovery is possible.

DSHS is working with local organizers to conduct town hall-style community conversations aroundTexas this summer to spark discussion about mental health and substance abuse, beginning this morning in Fort Worth.

Speak Your Mind Texas is designed to break down the stigma often associated with mental illnessand emotional disturbance and remove barriers to support and treatment,particularly among teens and young adults. DSHS encourages anyone involved withyoung people, including parents, teachers, coaches, community and churchleaders, and others, to participate in a Speak Your Mind Texas communityconversation in their area. Participants will learn about mental health issuesaffecting their community, the warning signs of mental illness and substanceabuse, and the resources available to help young people and those who supportthem face these challenges.

“People don’t liketo talk about mental illness, and they don’t like to hear words likeschizophrenic or bipolar, and we first have to get over that,” said DerekDillard, a young adult who experienced bullying and depression and attemptedsuicide before successfully seeking treatment with the support of his family.He is one of four young people who candidly lend their voices and stories to aseries of videos and public service announcements for Speak Your Mind Texas.

“Once we starttalking,” Dillard said, “we can start making changes.”

Resources will help people recognize mental illness and substanceabuse and show them how to provide support, promote hope and foster recoveryfor people experiencing mental illness or emotional disturbance. Resources arealso available by dialing 2-1-1. DSHS is supporting Speak Your Mind Texas witha media campaign that includes television and radio public serviceannouncements, online ads, and digital and social media outreach.

“An estimated one in five Americans willexperience a mental health issue during their lifetime, and one in 20 willdevelop a serious mental illness,” said Dr. David Lakey, DSHS commissioner.“Mental illness often strikes early, with half of all lifetime cases beginningby age 14 and three-fourths by age 24. That’s why Speak Your Mind Texas isfocusing on our state’s youth and the people and organizations that supportthem.”

“People can and dorecover from mental illness and substance abuse issues,” Dr. Lakey said.

The campaign ispart of an overall Texas effort to raise awareness of mental health issues andincrease access to services. The Texas Legislature added more than $300 million in additional mental health fundingfor 2014-2015. The funds are being used to expand services, decrease waitlists, make improvements at the state’s mental health hospitals, and developtargeted efforts for veterans and young people.


(News Media Contact: ChrisVan Deusen, DSHS Press Officer, 512-776-7753)

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Scheduled community conversations

Visit foradditional details as they become available

June 9 – Fort Worth
8:30 – 11 a.m.
The Women’s Center
1723 Hemphill St.

July 1 – Houston

July 8 – Kerrville

July 14 – McAllen/Edinburg

July 16 – Brownsville

July 21 – Midland/Odessa

July 23 – Abilene

July 24 – Lubbock

July 25 – Amarillo

July 28 – Tyler

July 29 – Lufkin

July 30 – Dallas

Aug. 12 – Waco/Temple

Aug. 13 – San Antonio