“Just Tell One” Public Awareness Campaign to Focus on Depression, Suicide, Alcohol Abuse, Substance Abuse

The campaign is being launched in all eight counties of Western New York


ken-houseknecht  michele-mercer

Ken Houseknecht, MHA executive director, left, and Michele Mercer, RN, MSHA, chief clinical integration officer, Millennium Collaborative Care, announce the launch of “Just Tell One” at WNED.

BUFFALO, N.Y., November 22, 2016 – The Mental Health Association of Erie County, Inc. (MHA) and the Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (ECCPASA) today launched “Just Tell One,” a public awareness campaign to promote mental, emotional and behavioral health throughout the eight counties of Western New York.

The campaign is being contracted through Millennium Collaborative Care and Community Partners of WNY, two performing provider systems funded by New York State as part of the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program, and with support from community organizations in all eight Western New York counties.

According to Kenneth P. Houseknecht, MHA executive director, the campaign will focus on four key areas – depression, suicide, alcohol abuse, and substance abuse – with a special emphasis on prevention and early intervention among at-risk individuals in the 14-26 age range. “Our goal is to provide hope and self-care to those seeking help in a safe and healthy environment, pointing them in the right direction to get assistance for themselves or others,” said Houseknecht.

The campaign’s primary audience includes teens and young adults within the Medicaid population living in urban and rural communities who are often from single-parent or non-traditional families with cultural or language barriers, limited health literacy, and limited or non-existent access to primary care providers. Secondary audiences include adult influencers such as parents, family members, church and community leaders, and coaches and teachers.

Robin Mann, executive director at ECCPASA, said research demonstrates the importance and positive impact one trusted person can have in influencing the future direction of somebody suffering from mental health or behavioral health issues. “These are not topics that are easy to talk about so our goal is to provide a web-based resource with information on how to find the right person to contact and how to begin the conversation,” explained Mann.

carol-doggett        tee-and-carol

Carol Doggett, JT1 campaign director and director of community awareness, Mental Health Association of Erie County reviews the JT1 website which features WNY teens and their stories.

The cornerstone of the campaign is the website www.justtellone.org along with a dedicated call line – 716.245.6JTI (6581) – where referral specialists will be available from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

In addition to the website, the campaign will include videos, tool kits, and a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. All campaign materials will initially be in English with downloadable tool kits soon to be available in Spanish, Karen, Somali, Burmese, Arabic and Napoli.

There are just over 1.5 million people living in Western New York. Approximately one third of that population is Medicaid eligible. DSRIP is the main mechanism by which New York State will implement the Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) Waiver Amendment originally announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on April 14, 2014. DSRIP´s purpose is to fundamentally restructure the health care delivery system by reinvesting in the Medicaid program, with the primary goal of reducing avoidable hospital use by 25 percent over five years. Promoting mental, emotional and behavior health, and preventing substance abuse are two key focus areas of DSRIP.

amy-white-storfer  sally-yageric

Amy White-Storfer, director of Community Partners of WNY, left, and Sally Yageric, interim director of community programs, Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse address the JT1 launch audience.


Douglas Hann, youth peer mentor at the Mental Health Association of Erie County

“Few initiatives are as compelling or important than those designed to protect our youth from the tragedy of addiction or suicidal depression,” said Amy White-Storfer, director of Community Partners of WNY. “In coming together with essentially the entire Western New York health care community, it is our sincere hope that we can help advance this project to the point where we have a significant positive impact on the health and well-being of our community’s young people.”

michele-and-andrea  michelle-and

Michele Mercer and Andrea Wanat, MA, CPP, Director of Behavioral Health, Millennium Collaborative Care with the teen leads of the JT1 campaign.

“The ‘Just Tell One’ campaign is the result of outstanding collaboration between The Mental Health Association of Erie County, Inc. (MHA), the Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (ECCPASA), and team members of both Millennium and Community Partners of WNY,” said Al Hammonds, executive director at Millennium.

“The campaign’s key messages and overall web-based approach are based on significant research that will enable it to connect at the right time with young adult members of the Medicaid community living in underserved urban and rural communities, and most importantly, point the way to additional resources that can truly lead to positive life changing outcomes.”


About the Mental Health Association of Erie County, Inc. (MHA)

Since 1962, the Mental Health Association of Erie County, Inc. has provided essential programs and services to seniors, adults, families and children in Erie County. Over the years, the MHA has positioned itself to know what the most pressing and current mental health needs are in our community and to provide education, public information, prevention programs, training, advocacy and supportive services. For more information visit eriemha.org.

About the Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (ECCPASA)

Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (ECCPASA) delivers research-driven education, prevention, and intervention programs and services to promote and support the health and wellness of individuals, families and communities by focusing on solutions to alcohol and other drug misuse, addiction, and unhealthy behaviors. For more information visit eccpasa.org.

About Millennium Collaborative Care (MCC)

Millennium Collaborative Care is igniting health care change by partnering with physicians, health care providers and community-based organizations to improve the delivery of health care for Medicaid patients across the eight counties of Western New York. Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) is the lead entity in the MCC performing provider system, which is teaming up in five areas to create a better health care system for all: acute care, ambulatory services, behavioral health, community engagement and post-acute care. For more information visit millenniumcc.org.

About Community Partners of WNY

Community Partners of WNY is a network of more than 100 health, human service, and educational organizations; the Catholic Health System plus five community hospitals; and over 1,000 physicians from across the region that will focus on transforming the delivery of health care in Western New York. This community-wide effort is governed by a representative board established by the lead organization, Sisters of Charity Hospital, and supported by the project management team at Catholic Medical Partners. For more information visit wnycommunitypartners.org.



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