GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Four non-profits serving Northeast Wisconsin are kicking off an awareness campaign about how chronic stress from the pandemic is affecting mental health.

The “Look In and Reach Out” campaign was created as a way to reach out to people who may not have needed help in the past, but are realizing the pandemic has created new challenges.

According to a release, the Basic Needs Giving Partnership through the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation granted the funds for the effort to Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin, Foundations Health & Wholeness, Samaritan Counseling, and Catalpa Health.

The President & CEO of Family Services says their main goal in the campaign is for people to realize the new stressors in their life. “What we want people to do is to take a moment to ask themselves if they’re ok mentally and emotionally. And if they aren’t, we really want them to talk to someone they trust about it. Sometimes just acknowledging how we feel and telling someone else about it can make all the difference,” says Lois Mischler, President & CEO of Family Services.

The campaign explains how some stressful issues relate to the pandemic, including:

  • Unemployment
  • Family conflict
  • Home-based learning
  • Fear of COVID-19

In the release, it says a National poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation indicated 53% of adults in the United States reported their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the coronavirus.

Specific issues included:

  • Difficulty sleeping or eating
  • Increases in alcohol or substence use
  • Worsening chronic conditions

Scientists are also starting to see a global surge in depression.

Organizers explain that the campaign is designed to reach people who may feel ‘off’ since the pandemic started but have not experienced depression or anxiety before.

“Looking into assessing how we’re doing ourselves, and reaching out to trusted individuals for support is an important step we can all take at any time,” says Mary Downs, President & CEO of Catalpa Health.

The largest part of this campaign revolves around the involvement of ambassadors from each non-profit who will cover population centers in Brown, Outagamie, and Winnebago counties.

These ambassadors will be armed with kits so they can distribute them to people who can “Look In and Reach Out.”

The kits include:

  • Yard signs
  • Insperational cards
  • Wrist bands
  • Social media and website information

The entire campaign is created by Khrome Agency, an advertising and design firm located in Green Bay that donates to help both adults and children understand that they are not alone. They say they want everyone to know worry, anxiety, and sadness are normal, too.

“Just knowing that others are going through the same thing is incredibly reassuring,” says Mischler. “And if someone’s anxiety or sadness doesn’t go away or get worse, we want people to know that there are professionals out there to help them.”

In the end, organizers want everyone to realize that it’s okay to say “I’m not okay right now,” and talk to someone they trust for help.

For more information, please click here.