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“You are Brave.”
“You are Enough.”
These three phrases are the highlights of a big, bright, colorful mural completed earlier in October by Denver artists Pat Milbery and Jason Graves to help drive mental health awareness and bust stigma.
The mural is part of Kaiser Permanente’s “Find Your Words” campaign.
The campaign encourages people suffering from depression or who know someone dealing with it to find the courage to talk. The campaign is led by Kaiser alongside the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Crisis Text Line and Mental Health America.
The campaign launched in four states with social media and a resource website with an interactive forum on mental health issues.
The Reason for the Campaign
Suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in the U.S.
It also is the 3rd-leading cause of death for youth ages 10-14, and the 2nd-leading cause for those ages 15-24. More than 90% of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition, according to NAMI. Across the nation, 1 in 5 youth ages 13-18 and 1 in 8 ages 8-15 experience a severe mental disorder at some point during their life.
These startling statistics showcase the need for mental health care for youth.
In Colorado (21% Latino), the site of the new mural, a stigma surrounds depression and anxiety.
Mental health can be hard to talk about, and hard to know when or how to seek treatment. Latino teens here and across the nation face many barriers—from discrimination to culturally insensitive health care systems—to proper mental health care.
Many people feel alone.
Only a month ago, two teens in Denver’s Arapahoe County and one teen in Jefferson County committed suicide within the same week.
Painting to Start a Conversation on Mental Health
Murals like the one in Denver create a space for positive conversation.
“These murals make mental health relatable and approachable for the community to come and take photos to share on social media,” says Kaiser Permanente’s Nicholas Roper.
Mental health is important to local artist Mike Fudge.
Fudge wanted to give people a venue to bring mental health into regular discussion—to give people “a voice to talk about it a little bit, not stray from the subject or try to hide it.”
He designed a Find Your Words campaign mural this month in Colorado Springs, Colo., featuring the statement: “We are in this together.”
“It’s taboo to even discuss the subject of depression or mental health at all,” Fudge said. “People suffer in silence.”
One-half of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14, but because of the stigma, many youth don’t seek help until it’s too late. Kaiser Permanente hopes that these art pieces will open a dialogue about depression and combat suicide.
After all, YOU matter!
Listen to this short audio story from Find Your Words and StoryCorps, and check out resources for yourself and others at https://findyourwords.org/.
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