La Crosse launch of mental health initiative aims to propel helping each other

La Crosse Tribune

Mike Tighe

“Talking about mental health should be done in plain sight and in normal voices instead of behind closed doors and hushed tones, according to a new national campaign being launched Monday in La Crosse.

The Campaign to Change Direction which began March 4 during Washington, D.C., ceremonies in which LHI CEO Don Weber, Dr. Todd Mahr of Gundersen Health System and first lady Michelle Obama christened the project, casts mental health as a community issue in which everyone is called to help solve…

The campaign aims not only to encourage people to help someone who seems troubled but also to prompt people experiencing mental health challenges to feel comfortable enough to seek help, said Charish Badzinski, LHI’s communications manager, who has been involved in both the national and the regional roll-outs.

“Those of us who are suffering emotionally must know that we are not alone — and that it isn’t anything to be ashamed of,” Badzinski said. “We should treat it like any other illness — the flu, a sprain, diabetes or even cancer — and seek treatment…

Briefly, those five warning signs are:

People stop taking care of themselves and may engage in risky behavior.
They withdraw or isolate themselves from other people.
They seem uncharacteristically angry, anxious or agitated.
They seem overcome with hopelessness and overwhelmed by their circumstances.
Their personality changes.”

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