Open Minds, Open Doors
Open Minds, Open Doors is the latest anti-stigma/anti-discrimination campaign of the Wisconsin United for Mental Health (WUMH) statewide coalition. Launched in May 2007, the campaign consists of a series of radio public service announcements (PSAs) that asks listeners to support the anti-stigma statements on the WUMH Web site. Listeners are asked to sign up in support of the belief that stigma and discrimination against people who have mental illnesses is wrong.
Through the efforts of the WUMH coalition, members have learned that active support of stigma reduction efforts can help to educate the public about mental illnesses and the possibility of recovery. The WUMH coalition continues to work on raising awareness of the stigma that prevents individuals from seeking out and remaining in mental health treatment.
As part of the awareness activities of WUMH, the coalition developed and implemented the Open Minds, Open Doors campaign to involve the community in actively supporting anti-stigma statements and in reducing discriminatory actions. The campaign developed the following I Believe statements that individuals and/or businesses can sign up to support:
- People living with mental illnesses have the same needs as everyone else.
- People with mental illnesses do recover and live productive lives.
- People who have mental illnesses make valuable contributions to society.
- Stigma and discrimination against people who have mental illnesses keep them from seeking help.
- Discrimination against people who have mental illnesses violates their basic human rights.
The campaign only recently kicked off and results of those signing the I Believe statements have yet to be tallied. WUMH plans to increase traffic to the campaign section on the main WUMH Web site, which will result in an increased number of signers.
Future steps for the Open Minds, Open Doors campaign consist of the release of a media guide that will offer suggested language use, terminology, helpful Web sites, resources, and mental health information. WUMH plans to distribute the media guide statewide to journalists to help them develop stories, headlines, and editorial pieces.
For further information on the Open Minds, Open Doors campaign, or to support the campaign and join others in supporting the I Believe statements, please visit www.wimentalhealth.org/combatingstigma/stigma_awareness.php.