In the Limelight: Tri-City Mental Health Services
Each Mind Matters: California’s Mental Health Movement is supported by the outstanding work performed by counties across the state. A RAND report shows that through local and statewide efforts California counties are at the forefront in breaking down barriers so all Californians can live mentally well. Each day, our county partners work in communities to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness as well as raise awareness about the services available to their residents.
We continue our snapshot series of these outstanding efforts in our counties with a look at Tri-City Mental Health Services.
The centerpiece of Tri-City’s work is the Room4Everyone campaign. The campaign actively engages the community across the three cities of Claremont, La Verne and Pomona to work with residents, schools, agencies and community-based organizations to raise awareness about mental health.
Some of the campaigns main activities include:
Green Ribbon Week
Every year, Tri-City hosts “Green Ribbon Week” in March to promote the Room4Everyone campaign and encourages community members to participate in mental health awareness activities. Green Ribbon Week is an opportunity to raise mental health awareness and engages the community across the cities of Claremont, La Verne, and Pomona in an effort to reduce stigma. Events incorporate Each Mind Matters messages and materials across schools, agencies and community-based organizations, united under the color of lime green to raise awareness about mental health.
An important piece to “Green Ribbon Week” is the commitment from local schools and organizations within the Tri-Cities to promote mental health. The following are a few examples:
- Discounts were provided at local eateries and retail businesses to raise awareness of Green Ribbon Week activities. Participating locations posted a “We Support Mental Health” poster in the window so customers would know it offered a discount if they wore lime green.
- Several businesses got very creative, including a yogurt shop that dipped cherries in lime green. Employees also wore lime green shirts all week. A doughnut shop created donuts in the shape of a ribbon with lime green frosting.
- A co-sponsorship with Western University of Health Sciences was established to hold events on campus to educate those pursuing careers and currently working in the healthcare field about mental health related issues. The “expression line” was a success as students could hang signs with positive messages about mental health.
- Claremont High School partnered with their City Teen Committee on Mental Health for Green Ribbon Week campus activities to highlight mental health and suicide prevention awareness.
Courageous Minds Speakers Bureau
Another important piece to Tri-City Mental Health Services’ work is Courageous Minds. Its focus is to help individuals with mental illness develop their personal stories of hope and recovery to prepare them to share positive mental health messages in the community. Beyond training participants as speakers, this program engages those with lived experience as partners in outreach and planning. Short vignettes of the speakers telling their personal stories can be found on the Room4Everyone website.
Creative Minds Art Gallery
This creative showcase hosts community artists of all ages and experience both with and without mental illness, and rotates every 6 months with new art each time. Gallery events include a reception with a different theme, such as “Transformation” and “My Community”; an artist panel highlighting questions that emphasize the link between art, wellness and stigma reduction; and community workshops to provide materials and a space for people to create art and engage in conversations around mental health and stigma reduction.
“It is a way of relieving stress. When I am creating art, all other thoughts are pushed aside and I focus on the present.” – Creative Minds participant
Suicide Prevention Training and Outreach
Actively educating the community to recognize and respond to their friends and loved ones who may be at risk of suicide has been an important part of Tri-City’s strategy. They offer several suicide prevention trainings to the community, free of charge. Trainings and presentations offered includes SafeTALK, SuicideTALK and E-suicideTALK. This variety allows for the needs of the community to be matched with the length and delivery of the different trainings. Tri-City also utilizes materials from the Know the Signs campaign to promote information about suicide prevention throughout the community.
Making a Difference
Over the last year, Tri-City has held 28 community presentations at local high schools, colleges, and community group meetings that were attended by more than 900 people. Through these events, 4,600 lime green ribbons were distributed. This work has made a difference. Of the attendees at these community events, 80.5 percent reported an increase in their belief that people with mental illness can recover and 81.5 percent said their understanding of the impact of mental illness in their community had increased. Evaluations from presentations included the following comments that demonstrate the power of personal stories:
“I could relate to the speakers’ stories. It gave me hope for my personal recovery”.
“I had a hard time understanding why (my friend died by suicide) when she came off as happy with a good family and social life. Hearing Steven’s story helped me make a bit more sense of it”.
Tri-City Mental Health Services, and their efforts through Green Ribbon Week and the Room4Everyone campaign, are a shining example of how counties can impact a local community for positive mental health change. To learn more about Tri-City’s efforts, visit their website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter by searching @tricitymhs.
For related content: Click here to read In the Limelight posts from counties across California.