DENVER — Sara Stewart spent over a decade taking different medications, and seeing therapists for her depression, all while trying to maintain a facade that she was fine. It wasn’t until she was finally diagnosed as bipolar two, that she got the right treatment, and realized talking about her mental illness could be helpful.
"I'm thrilled to death I was contacted by everyone to come out and speak about this," said Stewart.
On Monday, a Governor's Proclamation was issued in Denver, declaring the month of May "Mental Health Month." A new campaign "Let's talk Colorado" is encouraging people to use this month to have conversations about emotional health. It includes a website with information and resources.
The campaign is a partnership of multiple agencies in Denver, including the Tri-County health department.
"I would encourage offices to have a conversation, I would encourage families to talk about it over dinner," said Patty Boyd with Tri-County health.
Sara and her husband David say opening up to close family or friends is critical, because people with mental illnesses may not realize when they're heading for a crisis. Other people may notice the signs and can offer assistance.
But it can also be helpful to discuss the subject of mental health with other people in your life, like friends and co-workers. Because mental illness should be seen as normal as a physical condition.
"There’s a lot of fear and a lot of stigma but most of us aren’t going to judge someone if they come out and say I have an issue and I need help," says David.
According to NAMI, 1 in 5 adults in the United States has a mental health condition.