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'Find Your Words' to Fight Stigma Around Depression

Depression and other mental health issues are common and touch nearly all of our lives, directly or through connections to friends, family, or colleagues. But it can be hard to talk about, even with loved ones.


More than 1 in 5 adults in the United States live with a mental health condition, including about 14.8 million adults who live with major depression. Approximately 20 percent of youth ages 13 to 18 have experienced or will experience a mental health condition. In approximately 5 percent, the condition will be severe.

But treatment works, and there is hope. Kaiser Permanente (No. 1 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) is committed to tackling the stigma and is teaming up with other organizations, including the National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Crisis Text Line and Mental Health America, to change the conversation around mental illness.

The public health awareness effort, “Find Your Words,” focuses on mental health and wellness with spots for TV, theater, digital and radio featuring lyrics that talk about depression in an honest and inspiring way. These spots launched in October 3 in the majority of our markets.

The spots drive viewers to FindYourWords.org, a website that provides basic information about depression, offers resources and invites the public to engage in a conversation about mental health and wellness through an interactive component.

Having a much-needed conversation

At Kaiser Permanente, total health includes mind, body and spirit — with the understanding that physical health and mental health are closely connected. Just as someone would go to the doctor for strep throat or a broken arm, it’s important to seek care for mental health issues.

However, people might be reluctant to get help because they feel ashamed or embarrassed. With this campaign, Kaiser Permanente and its partners aim to help reduce the stigma around depression and motivate people across the country to talk about it.

“The entire nation faces challenges when it comes to providing high-quality mental health care to those who need it, but we want people to know that mental health treatment works and that there is hope,” said Don Mordecai, MD, national leader for Mental Health and Wellness, and director of The Permanente Medical Group Mental Health & Chemical Dependency Services. “We are building partnerships with national mental health organizations, and standing together as a strong voice against the stigma and shame that can hinder some from seeking help.”

“Mental Health America is addressing mental illness Before Stage 4. Don’t wait until there is a crisis — if you think you’re dealing with depression, the best thing to do is to answer a few questions with an online screening, learn more and get connected, ” said Theresa Nguyen, LCSW, senior director of policy and programs, Mental Health America.

We can all help support better mental health and wellness. This effort is Kaiser Permanente’s call for us to find our words and instill hope in our loved ones, friends and colleagues struggling with mental health conditions. Visit FindYourWords.org to learn more and see what you can do to take part in this important conversation.

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