It’s Time to “Think Again” About Mental Health

Published 7:00 am Friday, May 18, 2018

Stories matter – especially in the South. Stories tell us about where we come from and where we are going. Telling our story can also empower us to become better and in turn help others become better. In the mental health arena, we understand that telling your story increases awareness and understanding of mental health and substance use disorders, and promotes the messages that behavioral health is essential to health, that prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover. That’s why it is important to encourage Mississippians to talk about mental health and keep an ongoing dialogue about these issues.

To help with this dialogue, the Mississippi Department of Mental Health is partnering with the Mississippi State Department of Health, NAMI Mississippi, Mississippi Public Health Institute, and Mental Health Association of South Mississippi to raise awareness about mental health and the connection between mental and physical health. We want to encourage Mississippians to speak up and speak out in order to change the way we think about mental health. This is why as partners we are launching a grassroots campaign called Think Again Mississippi during May for Mental Health Month.

Think Again encourages Mississippians to toss out their preconceived notions about mental health and think differently. It focuses on the fact that mental health problems are no different than other health problems.

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It is important for Mississippians to understand how common mental illness is and there is nothing to be ashamed of for seeking help. It is also important for Mississippians to understand that good mental health and good physical health go hand-in-hand. There is strong research that shows proper diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management can help protect your health and wellness – both physically and mentally.

Mental illness is much more common than we think. An estimated one in five Mississippians will experience mental health issues during their lifetimes.

Though seldom talked about as openly as many other physical health issues, mental illnesses are common and, more importantly, they are treatable.

Often, individuals who experience a mental health and/or substance use disorder feel isolated and alone, yet thousands of Mississippians experience these conditions every year.

As a state, we need to create environments and relationships that promote acceptance. That integration can help lead people on pathways of recovery that allow them to share their strengths, their skills, and their stories with others. The more we talk about mental health, the more we understand how to support one another. When we work together, we become stronger – as a community and as a state.

There are more treatments, services and community supports available now for people who have a mental illness than ever before, and we all want to continue working hard to make those services available to Mississippians no matter where they live.

We want all Mississippians to promote mental wellness and recognize the signs when there is a problem. For more information about Think Again, you can visit

Diana S. Mikula, Executive Director

Mississippi Department of Mental Health

Dr. Mary Currier, State Health Officer

Mississippi State Department of Health

Tameka Tobias, Executive Director

National Alliance on Mental Illness, Mississippi Chapter

Kay Daneault, Executive Director

Mental Health Association of South Mississippi

Roy Hart, Executive Director

Mississippi Public Health Institute