New mental health campaign kicks off today asking community to ‘Look In, Reach Out’ – WBAY

New Mental Health Campaign Kicks Off Today Asking Community To Look In Reach Out Wbay
New Mental Health Campaign Kicks Off Today Asking Community To Look In Reach Out Wbay

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – A new mental health campaign called ‘Look In, Reach Out’ began today in Northeast Wisconsin. It hopes to start a discussion with people who think they’re doing okay but are actually struggling.

Many scientists are seeing a global surge in depression. About 42% of Americans reported symptoms of anxiety and depression according to a U.S. Census Bureau study done in December 2020. A major increase from the 11% in December 2019. Yet, on a local level it’s not just about the numbers, but the people in the community dealing with these negative emotions.

One of the goals of the campaign that kicks off today, August 18, is “becoming aware that it’s okay to say, I’m not okay,” president and CEO of Catalpa Health, Mary Downs, said. “It’s okay to say, I need help.”

The ‘Look In, Reach Out’ collaborative campaign between four local nonprofits was designed to reach people who may feel ‘off’ since the pandemic began but who haven’t previously experienced mental health problems. People may not recognize those feelings or their effect, which is why the campaign was created thanks to The Basic Needs Giving Partnership through a Greater Green Bay Community Foundation grant. The nonprofits involved in urging people to seek help before they reach a mental health crisis are Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin, Foundations Health and Wholeness, Samaritan Counseling, and Catalpa Health.

Parts of the initiative include a social media push, distributing yard signs to people, and giveaways like mugs with the slogan “YOU (and your mental well-being) ARE VITAL.”

These will all hopefully “strike up conversations with community members,” Kristy Maney, board chair of Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin, shared. “Conversations not necessarily with someone in the mental health field but some of those community members who are possibly well-connected and have friends and family just to spark up the conversation.”

There is no one-size-fits-all method for asking friends and family if they’re struggling. However, there are some tips for parents.

“Just really asking kids how they’re feeling or saying you seem sad or you seem distracted, something seems wrong, trying to open the door for that,” Downs emphasized. “Sometimes, if they’re teenagers, it’s easier to have those conversations in a car because you’re both looking forward and you’re both not making eye contact. Sometimes, with teenagers, they can open up in that environment.”

Initially checking in on loved-ones rather than immediately involving mental health professionals is proactive, rather than reactive.

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