Community Mental Health Campaign Seeks Early Intervention

By Penny Parker, Denver Post

How do you get a major media celebrity like Mike Wallace to volunteer his time to produce television and radio ads for your client? Just ask him.

That was Crossbow Communications’ experience when president Gary Chandler wrote to Wallace asking him to lend his famous face and personal testimony to some public service announcements for the Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council (CBHC).

Colorado community mental health PR campaign

Of course, it helps that the campaign’s subject–suicide and depression prevention–hits Wallace where he lives. Last January, Wallace went public with his struggle with depression. Chandler saw the documentary, Deep Blue, on HBO and was compelled to write to Wallace.

“He called back just a few days after receiving my letter,” Chandler said. “He was eager to help us with the PSAs that briefly shared his own story.”

The PSA’s were shot by Wallace and his production crew on the 60 Minutes set. One version explains, “I’m Mike Wallace. Depression robs thousands of Coloradans of their health and happiness. Left untreated, it can even lead to suicide. If you feel constant sadness for no reason…or have lost interest in life, you may be affected by depression. I know. I’ve been through it. But I got the help that I needed and you can, too.”

Gov. Roy Romer joined Wallace in the promotional campaign by producing a series of his own announcements. CBHC launched a toll-free telephone number with the public service announcements to help address Colorado’s suicide problem. That number is 888-531-HOPE.

Colorado community mental health

“We hope to help more Colorado families and individuals find the nearest community mental health center,” Chandler said. “Many people who have never encountered a mental health disorder have never accessed a community mental health center. They think that the only option is to go to an emergency room or a private psychiatrist.”

The high-profile campaign has already earned state and national awards from the Public Relations Society of America and Reputation Management.

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Crossbow Communications is one of the leading public relations and public affairs firms in the United States. We have influenced public opinion and public policy around the world for more than 30 years. Today, we are tackling some of the most urgent issues of our time, including vital health and environmental challenges. Our offices are in Denver, Colorado and Phoenix, Arizona.