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Five Agencies Kick-Off Mental Health Awareness Campaign

Five Agencies Kick-Off Mental Health Awareness Campaign
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Diana Mikula at Podium and guest speakers at Campaign Kick-off
Desare Frazier

Five Mississippi agencies are kicking-off a campaign to promote good mental health. As MPB's Desare Frazier reports, experts say it starts with talking about issues that maybe uncomfortable at first.

"I think there's just a stigma about talking about it," said Mikula.

Stigma, that word comes up frequently when talking about mental health. Diana Mikula is with the Mississippi Department of Mental Health.

"So it's easy to talk to a co-worker about about having high blood pressure or high cholesterol but you're uncomfortable saying I'm feeling depressed," said Mikula.

Mikula says talking about mental health issues and seeking help is just as important as taking care of your physical health. She's at the capitol to launch a campaign called "Think Again About Mental Health Mississippi." Maximus Wright, a Mississippi filmmaker and writer is joining her to talk about how perfectionism kept him from enjoying the success of his book, especially after a divorce and a failed business.

"All of this attention that was coming around me, all this supposed success, I was not enjoying any of it because it still hadn't reached this plateau in my head that it was supposed to be and I couldn't appreciate it for what it was," said Wright.

Wright says he noticed his children began displaying some of his traits as they got older. He sought help from a therapist who is also a life coach, which he says helps him tremendously. Now Wright encourages other men to seek help as well. Tameka Tobias is with NAMI Mississippi, an organization that advocates for families.

"What we want individuals to do is to get the help that they need, become educated and also get the support and let them know they are not alone," said Tobias.

The Mississippi Public Health Institute, the state department of health and the Mental Health Association are partnering on this project. They say by making information available and pooling resources they can help Mississippians access the mental health care they need. May is Mental Health.