Grant goes to mental health awareness

HARLINGEN — The Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation has awarded a $47,222 grant to the Cameron County Mental Health Task Force for its End the Stigma Campaign.

The task force is aiming to lay the foundation for the campaign by educating and advocating to remove shame and overcome the stigma of mental illness.

They will advocate for understanding and fight the inaccuracies and hurtful representations of mental illness.

“The impact of stigma toward people who have mental illness can lead to reluctance in seeking treatment, lack of understanding from family and friends, bullying or harassment and create self-doubt and shame,” the task force said in a statement.

One in four people will suffer from mental illness at some point in their lifetime, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

“There is a great need in the Rio Grande Valley to promote education and advocacy for mental illness and to inform its citizens that it is common and treatable,” said Rose Gomez, task force chair.

“The goal is to break down the barriers of ignorance and promote education, understanding and respect within our community.”

The campaign will promote positive messages such as seeing the person, not the label, which will help people share their experience of living with a mental illness.