San Francisco Radio Personality Becomes Spokesperson for Mental Health America's Real Lives Program
Anchor to Encourage Others to Speak Out About Their Mental Health Conditions Through Soon-To-Launch Website
Contact: Eileen Sexton, (703) 837-4783 or email@example.com
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (March 27, 2007) - Jeff Bell, a long-time radio and news veteran in the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento areas, is now an official spokesperson for Mental Health America's soon-to-launch Real Lives online program. Bell, one of the millions of Americans living with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), will campaign for others with mental health conditions to tell their own personal stories of living with OCD, depression, bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and other mental health conditions that affect more than 58 million Americans each year. For individuals interested in contributing their story to Real Lives, go to www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/action/share-your-story.
"I'm very fortunate to be in a position to share my voice-not only as a radio personality, but also as an obsessive-compulsive-and it's my great hope that I might encourage others silenced by the stigma of mental illness to share their voices and stories, as well," said Bell, who currently co-anchors the afternoon news at KCBS-AM, one of the most successful all-news radio stations in America. "The more we who are living and coping with a mental illness speak out about our experiences, the more we can help our nation learn. Real Lives offers all who are affected by mental illness a way to connect, encourage one another, and share experiences and understanding."
Real Lives is a multi-year online communications initiative designed to humanize mental illnesses and tell the personal stories, both triumphant and painful, of those living with mental health conditions. Through these compelling and real-life stories, Mental Health America will work to institute needed change on how Americans view mental health.
"Real Lives is such an important vehicle for individuals to speak out. There is no other national web site of its kind. Jeff is an excellent spokesperson for Real Lives. He lives successfully with OCD," said David L. Shern, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mental Health America. "Jeff will lead the way for the millions of Americans who need a helping hand to encourage others to speak out."
The Real Lives website will be the hub of the initiative, allowing people to contribute their stories. Some may choose to do this because it helps them come to terms with their experience; others may do so for other reasons, including a desire to help others, to educate or to leave a legacy.
As evidenced, especially by the HIV/AIDS movement, real changes in attitudes and policies will happen for us when the public and opinion leaders are regularly exposed to the faces and stories of people living with mental health problems. Mental illness is often connected with deep shame and stigma. Mental Health America and the mental health movement currently does not have the level of exposure needed to make a difference in our work.
Bell has recently released his new book, Rewind, Replay, Repeat (Hazelden), recounting the depths of his experience with OCD, which reduced him to hiding from human contact, driving his car in looping circles, scouring his hands in scalding water, and endlessly rewinding, replaying, and repeating mental sequences of even the most mundane daily experiences.
Bell's reporting has aired on the CBS Radio Network, and the Associated Press and the Radio-Television News Directors Association of Northern California have recognized him for his radio work.
Mental Health America is the country's leading nonprofit dedicated to helping ALL people live mentally healthier lives. With our more than 320 affiliates nationwide, we represent a growing movement of Americans who promote mental wellness for the health and well-being of the nation - everyday and in times of crisis.