June 9, 2014
Mental health issues can leave people feeling isolated and ashamed. To counter misconceptions
about mental illness and help connect people with resources, the Texas Department of State Health Services is today launching Speak Your Mind Texas, a statewide conversation about mental health that will spread the message that help is available and recovery is possible.
DSHS is working with local organizers to conduct town hall-style community conversations around
Texas this summer to spark discussion about mental health and substance abuse, beginning this morning in Fort Worth.
Speak Your Mind Texas is designed to break down the stigma often associated with mental illness
and emotional disturbance and remove barriers to support and treatment,
particularly among teens and young adults. DSHS encourages anyone involved with
young people, including parents, teachers, coaches, community and church
leaders, and others, to participate in a Speak Your Mind Texas community
conversation in their area. Participants will learn about mental health issues
affecting their community, the warning signs of mental illness and substance
abuse, and the resources available to help young people and those who support
them face these challenges.
“People don’t like
to talk about mental illness, and they don’t like to hear words like
schizophrenic or bipolar, and we first have to get over that,” said Derek
Dillard, a young adult who experienced bullying and depression and attempted
suicide before successfully seeking treatment with the support of his family.
He is one of four young people who candidly lend their voices and stories to a
series of videos and public service announcements for Speak Your Mind Texas.
“Once we start
talking,” Dillard said, “we can start making changes.”
speakyourmindtexas.org will help people recognize mental illness and substance
abuse and show them how to provide support, promote hope and foster recovery
for people experiencing mental illness or emotional disturbance. Resources are
also available by dialing 2-1-1. DSHS is supporting Speak Your Mind Texas with
a media campaign that includes television and radio public service
announcements, online ads, and digital and social media outreach.
“An estimated one in five Americans will
experience a mental health issue during their lifetime, and one in 20 will
develop a serious mental illness,” said Dr. David Lakey, DSHS commissioner.
“Mental illness often strikes early, with half of all lifetime cases beginning
by age 14 and three-fourths by age 24. That’s why Speak Your Mind Texas is
focusing on our state’s youth and the people and organizations that support
“People can and do
recover from mental illness and substance abuse issues,” Dr. Lakey said.
The campaign is
part of an overall Texas effort to raise awareness of mental health issues and
increase access to services. The Texas Legislature added more than $300 million in additional mental health funding
for 2014-2015. The funds are being used to expand services, decrease wait
lists, make improvements at the state’s mental health hospitals, and develop
targeted efforts for veterans and young people.
(News Media Contact: Chris
Van Deusen, DSHS Press Officer, 512-776-7753)
DSHS Press Office on Twitter
Scheduled community conversations
Visit speakyourmindtexas.org for
additional details as they become available
June 9 – Fort Worth
8:30 – 11 a.m.
The Women’s Center
1723 Hemphill St.
July 1 – Houston
July 8 – Kerrville
July 14 – McAllen/Edinburg
July 16 – Brownsville
July 21 – Midland/Odessa
July 23 – Abilene
July 24 – Lubbock
July 25 – Amarillo
July 28 – Tyler
July 29 – Lufkin
July 30 – Dallas
Aug. 12 – Waco/Temple
Aug. 13 – San Antonio