SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — In a couple of weeks, you will begin seeing some new ads on billboards, in movie theaters, and on TV. It’s part of a new campaign by the Community Partnership of the Ozarks about drug prevention and mental health awareness.
The ads are mostly targeted towards youth, but it’s a message the organization behind it says everyone should listen to.
With the new campaign, advocates at Community Partnership of the Ozarks hope to help debunk some myths surrounding opioid abuse and mental health.
One of the ads says that a lot of people believe mental health disorder is extremely rare, when in fact, one in five Americans will be diagnosed with a severe mental health disorder during their lifetime.
The ads will be broadcast on TV, radio and social media, billboards and posters around the community.
Rikki Barton, director of prevention resource center at CPO, says the first ads will be coming out in March and will focus on drug prevention.
One of those says the number one place youth get prescription drugs is from a friend or relative.
She says the message is meant to help prevent youth from using drugs and help them rethink their choices.
“There are so many messages out there, they see so much in media that it’s important for them to understand that there is a different choice other than trying alcohol, trying marijuana, or prescription pills,” Barton said. “And that life is enjoyable as it is, without having to get high.”
Ads rasiing mental health awareness will start running in June.
“We wanna make sure that we are communicating the truth around that and hopefully reduce stigma around that,” Barton said.
Another myth one of the ads explores is that asking someone if they are considering suicide raises the risk of them moving forward with the act. The ad says that’s not true. That asking someone directly can encourage the youth to share their feelings and decrease their risk of committing suice. If they are not thinking about suicide, then they will know they have someone they can trust.
Barton expects the messages will reach hundreds of thousands of people in 21 counties.
“They at least get the information out there and cause people to think, which is what we want to do,” Barton said.
The campaign also encourages adults to join the conversation and talk to youth about drugs and mental health openly.
“We want them to be having conversations with teenagers about drugs, so there are open dialogue and open communication,” Barton said. “And so that parents know how to keep alcohol and drugs out of the access of youth.”
Adults can attend a youth mental health first aid training, which is offered once a month at Community Partnership of the Ozarks.