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LAC still looking for participants for mental health PSAs


Last updated 1/11/2022 at 10:52am

The Hill County Behavioral Health Local Advisory Council has two more weeks to find people to do interviews for its mental health and behavioral health awareness PSAs, a topic discussed at their monthly meeting Monday.

For about a year now, the council has been working on putting together recorded interviews with local residents who have experience with mental health struggles or addictions with the intention of using that footage to put together PSAs seeking to normalize these struggles by reducing the social stigma around them and telling people they are not alone.

The project has faced delays due to a lack of volunteers, causing the council members to participate themselves along with those who did sign up.

A rough cut of the full video was presented at the meeting and was received well by members of the council but LAC Chair Andi Daniel said they are hoping to get a couple more local people to participate.

Daniel said the interviews have gone well but the majority of participants have been women and she’s hoping for one more man to agree to be interviewed, just to balance things out a bit.

She said she’s also hoping to find someone from the local Native American community to be in the video as well.

The video also has a lot of people talking about their substance abuse issues, and she’s hoping to have someone talk more about mental health struggles as well she said.

Daniel said she is reaching out to people but has exhausted her options for the most part, and the council only has two more weeks to find participants.

Despite the desire for new participants the rough cut of the video was praised by members of the board for its professional production quality and moving narrative.

Among those who participated was Jesse Bergren, who talked about his struggles with substance abuse and how it affected his life.

“I just wanted to be altered the minute I found out that being altered was better than being in my head,” he said in the video. “... It became my entire life, finding, paying for, recovering from, repeat.”

He said he always told himself it was how he coped with life, but now that he’s recovered he can see how badly it was hurting him.

Angie Haas was another who talked about her struggles, not just with substance abuse, but maintaining the illusion to the outside world that everything was OK.

“I always tried to keep it together on the outside,” she said in the video, “And I thought that if it looked OK out there no one would really question what was going on.”

But participants also talked about their recoveries and how much has changed for them since those days, how much better they feel, not just physically, but about themselves and their lives.

LAC Vice Chair Amber Spring said the video looks good but she’s hoping they might focus more on the common threads that run through so many stories, like the importance of the first few steps toward recovery, and the fact that there are countless people who have the same struggles.

The meeting also saw a few new faces who were welcomed by members of the council who explained how their organization works and encouraged them to provide ideas about what the council and its partner organizations can do in the community.

Daniel said the council is still looking for more members as there are still gaps in representation on the board.

She said the areas they’re hoping to find representatives from are, the criminal justice system, social and crisis services, like the Human Resources Development Council, and the outlying areas of Hill County, beyond just Havre.

Spring said the council is always looking for new people and ideas.


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