SAMHSA’s Resource Center to Promote Acceptance,
Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with
Mental Health (ADS Center)
Wisconsin United for Mental Health
Wisconsin United for Mental Health (WUMH) is a coalition of State, nonprofit, advocacy, and consumer mental health organizations formed in 2002. The coalition actively promotes mental health awareness and eliminates barriers to recovery through statewide anti-stigma activities and events including Webcasts, trainings, presentations for the public, and the support of local legislator and media briefing activities.
According to the Presidents New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, Too many Americans are unaware that mental illnesses can be successfully treated and recovery is possible. Advocates and leaders in Wisconsins mental health community found this to be true after they had difficulty reaching people who might be experiencing mental illness, cultural stigma, and self-stigma.
The coalition was developed to raise Wisconsinites awareness of mental health issues, encourage individuals and their families to seek treatment services, and educate the community about recovery and the stigma that can prevent people from seeking and remaining in mental health treatment. WUMH developed a comprehensive Web site, www.wimentalhealth.org, that offers information on mental illness across the lifespan and provides links to national mental health sites and WUMH partner Web sites. The site also provides free, confidential online screening for mental health and substance abuse issues and information on Wisconsins new anti-stigma/anti-discrimination campaign, Open Minds, Open Doors.
WUMH continues to implement a statewide stigma elimination campaign by informing the public about the online screening tests and comprehensive Web site. To get the message out, WUMH uses radio and television public service announcements (PSAs), print materials, and written editorials. WUMH members also submit opinion pieces or provide feedback to journalists in response to positive or stigmatizing news stories or advertising. The coalition currently is completing a media guide that will be offered to journalists for use in developing stories, headlines, and editorial pieces related to mental illnesses.
WUMH members and cochairs also participate in numerous presentations, coordinated mental health awareness events, Webcasts, and radio and press interviews. The coalition focuses its efforts on two events: May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the October National Depression Screening Day and Mental Illness Awareness. Members and cochairs also serve on the Women and Depression Implementation Committee, led by Wisconsins Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton.
WUMH has successfully promoted online screening through radio and television advertisements. Approximately 75 percent of individuals who participated in the online screening tool learned about it through the radio and television advertisements. Additionally, more than 2,000 radio and television PSAs have aired, and several radio and television stations have aired news stories about the campaign and online screening.
In 2006, 107 participants attended WUMH media roundtables and presentations. An additional 200 participants and 25 media representatives attended other anti-stigma presentations. For 2007, WUMH is working with partners to promote WorkSource Wisconsin, an initiative that provides effective resources to aid Wisconsin employers in hiring persons with disabilities. WUMH is working to increase awareness and education in the employment of persons who have mental illnesses and are in recovery.
Additionally, editorials, e-mails, and letters written by WUMH members and cochairs have been featured in daily and weekly newspapers, State department workplace newsletters, and local papers.
WUMH has been successful in its outreach efforts with the general public, media, schools, and businesses. The coalition continues to expand its efforts among hard-to-reach groups.
For general information about WUMH, you may contact WUMH c/o Wisconsin Womens Health Foundation at 2503 Todd Drive, Madison, WI 53713, 800-448-5148. You also may access the WUMH Web site at www.wimentalhealth.org.