New public health campaign aims to get Coloradans talking about mental illness

DENVER -- This month a new public health campaign called “Let’s Talk Colorado” is tackling the stigma surrounding mental illness.

One in five people suffers from some sort of mental health condition, but many don’t feel comfortable talking about it or seeking treatment. This campaign hopes to change that.

Keith Peterson is someone who knows all too well just how important that is.

His son KC was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder in his early 20’s. “He had mood swings, heavy mood swings, where he would appear to be really down and depressed, and then he would come back up,” Keith said.

KC got medication and is managing his illness, and Keith now recognizes the importance of talking freely about mental health. “The idea that people don’t feel comfortable saying what is going on with them is frightening, and the potential consequences are deadly,” he said.

Keith is supporting the Let’s Talk Colorado Campaign. It’s a large campaign with 250 partners. The goal is to reduce the stigma, so that people feel comfortable seeking treatment.

“We want people to start talking about mental health just as we would talk about cancer or a broken arm,” said Patty Boyd with Tri-County Health.

The website, LetsTalkCo.org, has resources and encourages open communication. It even offers examples of how to talk to someone you are concerned about.