Gov. Polis & CDHS Launch SEE ME Campaign to Battle Stigma of Behavioral Health Conditions
DENVER– Gov. Jared Polis joined Michelle Barnes, executive director at the Department of Human Services, to launch the new SEE ME campaign, to address the stigma associated with getting mental health or substance use disorder support. The campaign is designed to complement the work of the Colorado Behavioral Health Task Force (BHTF) and provide an opportunity for all Coloradans to take action in support of behavioral health system reform.
“This campaign is about ending the stigma for the one million Coloradans living with a behavioral health condition or substance abuse disorder,” said Governor Jared Polis. “This just one step toward reforming our behavioral health system, but a critical one. We want to ensure that Colorado is a state where anyone who needs services can get them without fear of judgement.”
“We have an unprecedented opportunity to positively influence the future of the behavioral health system in Colorado,” shared CDHS Executive Director, Michelle Barnes. “Many Coloradans are touched by mental health conditions or addiction disorders either personally or by someone they know. But, they are not reaching out for help because of the stigma associated with mental health conditions and substance use. The SEE ME campaign gives a voice and face to those impacted and takes us one step closer to reducing stigma and shame.”
SEE ME Colorado will move Coloradans from awareness to action by engaging them through the following campaign components:
- The 14-Day Challenge, which includes prompts ranging from engaging in the conversation about changing the behavioral health system, to new ways to pay it forward and see more than a diagnosis.
- The SEE ME pledge, which Coloradans can sign to acknowledge that they will ask for help and help those around them when needed.
- The virtual story wall, where Coloradans can submit their experiences with mental health conditions, addiction disorders and their experiences with Colorado’s behavioral health system.
Gov. Polis was also joined by Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera, Rick Garcia, Executive Director at the Department of Local Affairs, Stan Hilkey, Executive Director at the Department of Public Safety, and Dean Williams, Executive Director at the Department of Corrections.
Current State of Colorado’s Behavioral Health
Colorado dedicates over one billion dollars annually to its behavioral health system yet it has among the highest suicide rates in the country. Many national rankings place Colorado in the bottom quarter of states when evaluating the quality of behavioral health and access to care. According to Governor Jared Polis, “Providing upstream care and services through community behavioral health promotes the health, well-being, and civil rights of our citizens and also ensures we are using state resources effectively.”
Please visit https://seemecolorado.com/ to join the cause.
The Colorado BHTF was formed in the spring of 2019 at the request of Governor Polis. The task force is intended to shape the future of behavioral health services in Colorado. BHTF has been charged with creating a statewide blueprint to ensure that all Coloradans have access to timely, high-quality and affordable behavioral health services within their communities.
If you have questions, contact Madlynn Ruble, Deputy Director of Communications, by email at ; or by phone at 303-866-3411 (office).
To learn more about the campaign or to take the challenge, visit the website.
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