One in five adults nationwide – or about 14,000 adults right here in southwest Wisconsin – experiences mental illness in any given year. In addition, one in 10 children lives with a serious mental or emotional disorder. Despite such rates of mental illness in our families and in our communities, a persistent stigma around mental health results in people facing discrimination and feeling shame and too often believing they must suffer in silence. And that’s what prevents more than half of all children and adults alike from getting the help they need.
To empower people in area communities, Southwest Behavioral Services (SBS) of Platteville, the mental health service line of Southwest Health, is working to break the silence, and Say It Out Loud! By getting people talking about mental health wellness and by drawing attention to barriers that prevent any one of us from seeking or offering support, the SBS team is building a larger and more resilient base of engaged community members. SBS’s Say It Out Loud campaign works to dispel the stigma and to connect those in need with the help that makes lives better.
A cornerstone of Say It Out Loud is an annual art competition. Open to everyone, the competition is held annually during the Month of May, which is National Mental Health Month.
Artwork is accepted May 1 through May 31 and entries will be featured throughout Southwest Health facilities all year long to raise awareness and benefit others. People of all ages are encouraged to submit works in a wide variety of media to help us Say It Out Loud!
The Say It Out Loud theme is a research-based best practice slogan that offers an effective path to dispelling the common misperceptions about mental illness and in doing so creates opportunities for meaningful dialogue. “The best way to chase old myths away,” says Behavioral Health Administrative Director Jennifer Miller Kass, “Is to share experiences. Mental health issues are very real and can happen to absolutely anyone. But the right help can truly change lives. For that reason each time any of us is courageous enough to share our stories through our art or other ways, we make our communities a little stronger.”
- The competition theme, Say It Out Loud, must appear somewhere in the work.
- Competition participants must be age 6 or older and live in Grant, Iowa, and Lafayette Counties of southwest Wisconsin.
- Art media accepted includes posters (pencil, oil, pastel, computer-generated made on paper, canvas or other surface), original photography, sculpture, video, short essay, or poetry.
- All participants receive a Say It Out Loud bracelet. Competition cash prizes include $100 for 1st place, $50 for 2nd place, and $25 for 3rd place.
- Entry form and artwork deadline is Friday, May 31, 2019 at 4:00 pm, delivered to Southwest Behavioral Services at 1450 Eastside Road in Platteville, Wisconsin.
- Entry forms can be picked up at SBS in Platteville at the above address and are available online to print at southwesthealth.org/say-it-out-loud-art-contest.