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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Department of Health and Human Services
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

Last Updated: 6/22/2012

SAMHSA’s Resource Center to Promote Acceptance,
Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with
Mental Health (ADS Center)


OpenMindsOpenDoors (OMOD)
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Start Date

Brief Description
OpenMindsOpenDoors (OMOD) is a Pennsylvania campaign aimed at ending discrimination against people who have mental illnesses.

The 1999 Surgeon Generals report on mental health focused heavily on the stigmatization of people with mental illnesses, illuminating the barriers that people with mental health issues face.

In February 2002, the Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania launched OMOD with the goal of countering stigma and discrimination by facilitating the full integration of individuals with mental illnesses in their local communities. The campaign revolves around the following five key messages:

  1. People who have mental illnesses have the same needs as everyone else.
  2. People who have mental illnesses can and do recover and live productive lives.
  3. People who have mental illnesses make valuable contributions to society.
  4. Discrimination against people who have mental illnesses keeps them from seeking help.
  5. Discrimination against people who have mental illnesses violates their basic human rights.

OMOD focuses on creating awareness and reducing stigma and discrimination for all Pennsylvanians. However, each year the campaign focuses on a key audience, developing specific strategies, goals, and materials for that audience. Materials are used as supplements in campaign presentations and in outreach efforts across the State. The following is a brief list of available materials:

    Anti-Stigma Audiotape - A 7-minute piece highlighting the key campaign messages with feedback from consumers in the State.
    Campaign Brochure - A brochure that details the basic messages associated with the campaign.
    Leader Forum Guide - A guide designed to help organize a town hall meeting or leader forum.
    Employer Guide - A guide detailing how a supportive environment can benefit businesses by reducing absenteeism, increasing productivity, and attracting a diversified workforce.
    Fact Sheets - (Employment, Recovery)These fact sheets can be used in presentations or in dialog with a specific audience.

Since its development, OMOD has grown from a group of 12 partners to more than 50 partners across the State. It has engaged more than 100 of the best and largest employers in Pennsylvania and conducted in-house presentation with employees. OMOD also has reached out to 200 provider agencies. 24 of these agencies representing 30,000 employees have made changes in hiring and training as a result of OMOD training.

OMOD has also received endorsement from 30 Pennsylvania legislators and placed public service announcements on 40 college radio stations. Additional activities include the distribution of 4,000 copies a OMOD developed CD, registration of 700 Pennsylvanians for regular updates on campaign, and the provision of spokesperson training to 40 consumers across Pennsylvania.

Additionally, presentations conducted by OMOD staff members include presentations to State and national agencies and organizations, such as the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, Mayview State Hospital, Pennsylvania Governors Committee on Disability, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, the Federal Executive Board, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the Defense Contract Audit Association. It has reached more than 4,100 individuals through scheduled presentations, health fairs, and events.

OMOD also was recognized by SAMHSA for inclusion in an eight State pilot program Elimination of Barriers Initiative. OMOD provided language and materials for use in all eight States. Requests for campaign materials and assistance have been received from Germany, Canada, and the United Kingdom, as well as other States. Currently, a number of States are using OMOD campaign materials in their stigma reduction efforts.

OMOD was also recognized in 2003 by a University of North Carolina research team as “an exemplar” in fighting stigma. Only 30 campaigns in the country were recognized as such.

To obtain further information about this program, you may contact the Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania via telephone at 717-346-0549 or via email at Campaign materials can be accessed via the OMOD Web site at www.openmindsopendoors.


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This Web site was developed under contract with the Office of Consumer Affairs in SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services. The views, opinions, and content provided on this Web site do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of SAMHSA or HHS. The resources listed in this Web site are not all-inclusive and inclusion on this Web site does not constitute an endorsement by SAMHSA or HHS.