We’ve come a long way since the days of institutionalization and separation from community, the stigma and bias associated with mental illness, but we’re not where we need to be yet.  Reducing the stigma and bias against those facing mental health challenges is a tall order, but it can be done.  Efforts to increase public awareness and understanding of mental illness are important steps in the right direction.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.  Our partners, stakeholders and RBHAs will celebrate it in various ways with outreach and education, communication and interaction.  For example, Magellan is partnering with NAMI Arizona, Family Involvement Center and the Mental Health Awareness Coalition to highlight “Extraordinary People”—individuals who make valuable contributions to our community despite challenges with mental illness or substance abuse.

Through town hall meetings, presentations and other outreach efforts, the campaign will target advocates, public policy makers and community decision makers as well as the general public. As these groups will be  “Extraordinary People,” who are just like everybody else, but have shown extraordinary determination to overcome their mental health challenges and achieve a fulfilling life in the community, a rewarding job and loving relationships with family and friends.  To learn more about the “Extraordinary People” and the activities surrounding Mental Health Awareness Month, please visit www.OneinFour.info (or www.UnoenCuatro.info in Spanish).