The Mental Health Connection of Tarrant County’s (MHC) initiative Recognize & Rise (R&R) has launched an extensive public awareness campaign, It Happens. The goal of the campaign is to educate Tarrant County residents on how the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic like social isolation, toxic stress, grief and adversity can or have affected their mental health.
“Over the past two years, our community has seen a severe increase in people of all ages and backgrounds reporting mental and emotional distress,” said Virginia Hoft, Executive Director of MHC. “Now more than ever we need to connect with people to let them know It Happens, but it doesn’t have to define us.”
According to the recently released Tarrant County COVID-19 Needs Assessment Interim Report, since 2019, there has been a 50% increase of drug overdose deaths, 52% increase of children witnessing a violent crime, and suicide has become the leading cause of trauma deaths.
The It Happens campaign hopes to bring attention to the impact of both day-to-day stressors as well as those life-changing experiences. The bright orange campaign will be featured prominently on area bus sides and benches, outdoor billboards throughout Tarrant County and delivered personally through a series of direct mail pieces, email communications and digital advertisements. The materials will direct individuals back to www.recognizeandrise.org where there is a diverse network of resources including, check-in tools, quizzes, authentic video testimonials and more.
“The common experience of COVID-19 had people discussing things like trauma, emotional and mental stress, that are often considered taboo, in everyday conversations. Our goal is to help people move from a space of feeling self-conscious discussing their struggles to one of openness by creating a universal understanding that we all have a story to tell,” said Hoft.