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January 2011



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 Connie Francis

Article Date: 20 May 2010 – 2:00 PDT

Legendary singer Connie Francis and Mental Health America joined in launching a new national campaign on the importance of stress and trauma in the development of mental health problems and the need to appropriately treat them in order for people to get better.

Called S.T.A.R. of Mine (for Stress, Treatment, Awareness, Recovery), the campaign will raise awareness of the impact of trauma, help remove the stigma attached to it, and inform the public and health professionals on the importance of a new generation of treatments that puts control back in the hands of the traumatized person so that they can feel safe again and achieve recovery.

Mental Health America has established a website for the campaign at: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/STAR.

“This campaign will address itself to the millions of people in America who are currently suffering from the deleterious effects of depression and trauma of all kinds whether it be the trauma experienced by victims of violent crime, rape, domestic abuse, loss of a loved one, divorce, loss of finances or a job, and significantly in the largely-unattended area of the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) experienced by our returning veterans of our two wars,” Francis said. “You don’t have to be in a war, however, to be victimized by PTSD; many people wage war everyday with their struggle to come to grips with emotional problems that often seem insurmountable.

“Having been involuntarily committed seventeen times in nine years to mental institutions it is now my intention to be a voice for those suffering from mental disorders and to make them aware that there is hope and light at the end of an often bleak and interminable tunnel.”

“Toxic stress and trauma can ruin health and mental health,” said David L. Shern, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mental Health America. “While we know what to do to help, people often don’t get appropriate services. The science is clear. The time to act is now.”

Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. Shock and denial are typical responses immediately following the event. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships and even physical symptoms such as headaches or nausea.

If untreated, trauma can damage a person’s physical and emotional health. It can lead to addiction, severe mental illness, and many other very harmful consequences. The earlier in life the traumatic event happens, the more harmful it is.

It is also important that appropriate care is provided or re-traumatization can occur. For example, although unintended, a situation could occur where a large male counselor is assigned to a woman who was attacked by a large male, or a woman who was locked in a closet as a child is assigned to a small room.

A new generation of care called Trauma-Informed Care encourages people to talk about their trauma in their own time and in their own way. In a trauma-informed program, people respect survivors for what they have gone through and how they have coped, rather than assuming there is something wrong with them or blaming them for their problems.

Although Trauma-Informed Care has been recognized as critical to providing appropriate care to individuals, it has not been widely adopted. The campaign will work to achieve greater acceptance and implementation across the United States through a multi-pronged campaign.

Mental Health America  


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