TELL CITY, Indiana – Perry County Memorial Hospital representatives are partnering with the Perry County Chamber of Commerce, Perry County Development Corporation, and United Way of Perry County to promote awareness of mental health and suicide during the month of September, which is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Several initiatives are underway for this cause.
These initiatives began when PCMH Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), Bill Bryant, was notified of a grant the hospital would be receiving to address healthcare concerns in our community. Mental health awareness was one of the key components of these healthcare needs. A committee of PCMH employees was formed, in which the efforts started. The committee of PCMH representatives reached out to local partners to spread awareness for this cause.
“Perry County Memorial Hospital, in conjunction with the Indiana State Department of Rural Health, have partnered in a four-year initiative to address key healthcare concerns based on Community Health Needs Assessments. This year we have committed a focus on mental health: specifically, suicide awareness and prevention. The hospital has dedicated a team of healthcare providers to raise community awareness, and joined with community partners to raise awareness for this important topic that has touched nearly everyone’s life in some way,” stated CNO, Bill Bryant.
As the community members met to discuss specific initiatives, it was decided to create a different design of the infamous “Pick Perry” shirts
that represent suicide awareness and mental health. The shirts will be in purple and turquoise, which symbolizes the official colors of Suicide Awareness Month. These shirts will be debuted on September’s Pick Perry Day, Friday the 4th. Community members can buy their own at the Tell City Depot starting Thursday, September 3rd.
Kaydi Backer, Marketing Director for PCMH said, “we decided to go with a different version of the Pick Perry shirts that represent mental health and suicide prevention because the original Pick Perry shirts are already so prevalent in our community. We wanted to take a twist to these shirts to create a buzz in the community and to show that is OK to talk about this hard topic. Ending the stigma begins with awareness, and that is our aim with this campaign. We encourage you to go out and buy a shirt. Wear it in public throughout September. Start a conversation about this topic.”
Additionally, social media campaigns and print materials will be distributed throughout the community that demonstrate suicide and mental health statistics, resources, and more. Wendi Rich, Executive Director of the Perry County Chamber of Commerce, is also working with mental health advocate Cathy Fitzhugh, owner of Cornerstone Counseling of Indiana, to provide a Zoom meeting regarding mental health and suicide awareness the week of September 21st. The Zoom will be shared live on Pick Perry and United Way’s Facebook pages. More details will be announced via Facebook this month.
“Access to mental health services is as important as feeding the hungry or providing shelter,” stated Wendi. “I feel strongly that mental health and suicide awareness are conversations that should be had on a regular basis. At some point in everyone’s life, we will all go through a significant crisis or trauma. I feel that as a community we need to stand strong in this movement to support individuals during these times. The Perry County Chamber of Commerce is proud to be a key community partner in sharing this movement by spreading awareness about the availability of mental health services for a healthier community and workforce.”
All proceeds of the shirt sales will be donated back to the Perry County Chamber and United Way to put into more advocacy and awareness to the local public. The United Way of Perry County and chamber plans to host a event with the monies collected from shirt sales in the near future.
Executive Director of United Way of Perry County, Lacy Jones, expressed, “we are honored to partner with these community organizations to shine a light on such an important initiative. I believe there is no better time than now to end the stigma around mental health. Most of us have been exposed to trauma at some point in our lives and the key to true growth and success is addressing it in a healthy way. I would like to encourage local employers of all sizes to join us in this important movement!”
Make a visit to the Tell City Depot and debut your shirt on Pick Perry Day to get involved in this movement!