New campaign urges Michiganders to “Be Kind to Your Mind”

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– Mental health experts at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) are launching a statewide media campaign this week urging residents to seek relief from COVID-19-related emotional distress by talking to a trained crisis counselor and learning about other help available.

The “Be Kind to Your Mind” campaign promotes the use of Michigan’s free, confidential Stay Well counseling line and aims to combat stigma associated with seeking help for feelings of depression, anxiety, anger or loss which, according to MDHHS, are all common during a disaster like COVID-19.

The Stay Well counseling line debuted on May 13, 2020 and is staffed with crisis counselors 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Callers can access the line by dialing Michigan’s COVID-19 hotline at 888-535-6136 and pressing “8” at the prompt.

The service is part of a federally funded grant program implemented by the MDHHS Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.

“Many of us are having a hard time right now,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “There should be zero shame and zero stigma – just honesty that can help each of us find our own inner strength. ‘Be Kind to Your Mind’ says you can talk about the strain from COVID with trained counselors who are available for free.

According to MDHHS, a recent online survey of 99,000 households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, more than one-third of American adults report symptoms of depressive and/or anxiety disorder—triple the rate reported in 2019. Another survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control in June found more than one in 10 U.S. adults had considered suicide in the past 30 days. That rate was more than double what was reported in 2019.

Language translation is available for non-English-speaking residents who call the counseling line.

To access this and other mental health resources for coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, visit Michigan.gov/StayWell.

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