The Stamp Out Stigma (S.O.S.) campaign was introduced in May 2013 to show our commitment to removing the stigma of mental illness that keeps so many from seeking the care they need to recover.
Mental health and addiction continue to be misunderstood and rarely discussed. Yet in a given year, mental health issues will personally impact one in four people in the U.S.. And, more than 22 million people have a substance use disorder.
Mental illnesses and substance use disorders – just like high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes – are treatable health issues. Stigma linked to mental health and addiction often keeps people from seeking the help they need – yet for those who do, recovery is possible.
As we continue in our mission to remove the stigma surrounding mental illness, we urge you to take the pledge to stamp out stigma and talk about it. You, our trusted providers, are the strongest advocates we have to help eradicate the stigma associated with accessing behavioral health care and helping to facilitate an open and honest dialogue about mental illness.
For example, as part of our Stamp Out Stigma campaign, Dr. Gary Proctor, Chief Medical Officer, publicly shared his personal story related to mental illness. In the video clip, “A Doctor’s Perspective” he describes growing up with a family member who struggled with mental illness and how this experience became his first step in his journey to becoming a physician and psychiatrist. According to Dr. Proctor, this experience helped him empathize, be a better doctor and understand first-hand the real challenges people with mental illness go through and how to better help their families cope with these illnesses.
You can even join us in developing your own Stamp Out Stigma campaign within your office or facility.
A Vehicle for Change…the S.O.S. Late Model Stock Car
Providers in Pennsylvania have found an innovative way to promote the campaign…on the side of a racecar. Short track racer and Pennsylvania native Lon Emerick has dedicated his #3 RUSH Late Model car to Stamp Out Stigma with a “Recovery is Possible” message to help increase awareness of mental illness. Local sponsors include Community Counseling Center, United Way of Mercer County, Sharon Regional Health System, UPMC Horizon and The Primary Health Network. These groups work in the mental health field not only to treat those who suffer from the disease; but also to help those who need assistance find the proper mental health care program.
How Can You Get Involved?
It’s simple. Take the pledge. Talk about it. You can even develop your own S.O.S. promotion for your practice or facility with the resources and information found in our provider toolkit.
The S.O.S. toolkit supports you when communicating with your patients about the importance of seeking help and talking with others about mental illness. It includes information you can use in your office and/or distribute to your patients. Posters, flyers and articles comprise this toolkit, which all reinforce the consistent message that we need to work together to remove the stigma associated with mental illness.
For more information about Stamp Out Stigma, visit the S.O.S. website or call Provider Services at 800.397.1630.