WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and one organization in Connecticut has launched a campaign to break the stigma surrounding mental health. It's called "Let's Face It," run by Mental Health Connecticut.
Each day this month, they are featuring a different person, sharing their stories, and putting a face to those who have struggled or are struggling with their mental health.
"I found that the best way to dispel stigma is sharing personal stories," said Megan Baker, one of the people being featured in the campaign.
Growing up as a first-generation American, Baker has always struggled with her identity. Her mom immigrated with her family from the Philippines. And when Baker saw Asian Americans as the targets of hate crimes during the pandemic, she became fearful.
"I thought about it all the time. It really was this fear of being out and being attacked or being assumed to be sick or carrying a virus because of something that you're born with, something that you're born being," Baker said.
Baker found a community she really connected with and has since found peace with her struggles. She wants to share her story to encourage others to speak out, too.
That's the whole point of the "Let's Face It" campaign.
"Mental health has become a kitchen table conversation, rather than behind closed doors conversation," said Luis Perez, President and CEO of Mental Health Connecticut. "So this year in particular, I find that people are much more open to both share their story, but people are hungry for more information. Knowledge is power right and if you're going to take care of your whole health, you have to take care of your mental health."
Perez has seen evidence of that first hand. Mental Health Connecticut saw a 50% increase in calls during the pandemic. They want more people to reach out, and with this campaign, they hope to break down the stigma that comes with that.
"It's people talking to people about, frankly, the condition of being human. if you're a human being, you're going to be susceptible to mental health challenges," Perez said.
For more information on Mental Health Connecticut, click here.
Julia LeBlanc is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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