The Imperial County Public Health Department (ICPHD) has launched a joint mental health awareness billboard campaign in partnership with the Imperial County Office of Education (ICOE), Imperial County Behavioral Health Services (ICBHS), and Imperial County School-Based Mental Health Consortium. Funded through ICPHD’s Safe Schools for All program, this campaign aims at raising awareness about mental health, improving access to services, and reducing the stigma of mental illness.
The past couple of years have been difficult for our communities, and the need for mental health services for students and their families has never been greater. Young people have proven especially vulnerable to mental health issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic resulted in school closures that impacted students, causing them to experience extended periods of social isolation. The profound and long-term effects and mental health risks of social isolation include anxiety, depression, and suicidal tendencies. According to the World Health Organization, the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a 25% increase in anxiety and depression worldwide.
“As our local school districts reopen this Fall, it is absolutely necessary to prioritize the mental health needs of our students. The pandemic taught us that collaboration is the key to successful community engagement in our community. The Imperial County Public Health Department is thrilled to collaborate with local partner agencies in this joint mental health awareness campaign to address the mental health needs of our students and to let our families know they are not alone,” stated the Director of Imperial County Public Health Department, Janette Angulo.
“The need for early identification and timely access to mental health supports for our students and their families has never been greater,” said the Director of Imperial County Behavioral Health Services, Leticia Plancarte-Garcia. “The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the stressors that so many of our students and families have faced. These stressors, all too often, lead to mental health crises, including suicidal ideation.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on mental health, particularly on children and young people ages 0-22 years,” said Imperial County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Todd Finnell. “Yet amid an unprecedented public health crisis, we also have an extraordinary opportunity to come together within our families and our communities to improve the understanding of mental health. I am so excited to be working in partnership with the Imperial County Public Health Department, Imperial County Behavioral Health Services, and our local school districts on this important mission as we work together to strengthen our impact in this area of great need.”
Each year, one in five adults struggle with a mental health issue, yet only one in three who need help receive it. If you or someone you know is struggling emotionally or having trouble coping, there is help. If you are in distress or just want to talk, please call the Imperial County Behavioral Health Services 24-Hour Access Line at (800) 817-5292. You may also call or text the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 for free, confidential support. For emergencies, call 911.
These billboards are being displayed countywide for a far-reaching impact. The hope of this collective initiative is to raise awareness about the importance of mental health, which is foundational to supporting our community and helping our children and youth develop into healthy, resilient adults.
Developed as a collaborative joint effort from these local public agencies, this new mental health campaign includes a set of four billboards with the following messages:
Make your mental health a priority
You are not alone. Care for your mental health
Stand together for mental health (English)
Unidos por la salud mental (Spanish)
News Release in Spanish:
Agencias Locales Unen Esfuerzos para Abordar el Bienestar de Salud Mental por medio de una Campaña Publicitaria