Interview with Sheena Helgenberger of The Wellbeing Partners

Mental Health Stigma Reduction Campaign

One in five adults experiences a mental health condition every year. In fact, you likely know someone that has a mental health condition. Even though they are common, each year millions of people do not seek treatment, and often feel alone, embarrassed, and ashamed. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

The Wellbeing Partners, in partnership with PGP (The Public Good Projects), has created a community-led, grassroots campaign to improve social acceptance of mental health conditions and substance use disorders in the Douglas, Pottawattamie, Cass, and Sarpy Counties. The campaign pairs research-backed strategies with traditional marketing in a three-phrase approach to help educate the local community about mental health and show that no one is defined by a mental health condition.

Spokesimals Midwest is an education-based campaign inspired by the unconditional love and understanding that animals provide. The campaign invites community members to submit pictures and videos of their animals and/or pets, which are then paired with simple messages of encouragement, support, and facts about mental health. These messages are for everyone, not just people who have an interest in mental health or live with a mental health condition. We believe the more you know about mental health, the less society will allow mental health conditions to be stigmatized. To learn more or submit your animal visit

WhatMakesUs is a contact-based campaign designed to challenge perceptions and change the conversation around mental health. This campaign is a collection of photo and video testimonials from community members living with mental health conditions and their allies, highlighting what makes them who they are — not defined by a mental health condition. These testimonials are then distributed across multiple social media platforms and by community partners. By sharing stories from real people in the community, stigma is reduced by highlighting shared interests, values and experiences, and showing that what makes us who we are is about so much more than whether or not we live with a mental health condition. To learn more or share your story visit

The Wellbeing Partners offers opportunities for individuals and organizations across Douglas, Pottawattamie, Cass, and Sarpy counties, to support this campaign through working groups.

These working groups fall into four (4) categories: Community Partner Organizations, Mental Health Advisories, Workplaces, and Individual Community Members. This grassroots engagement allows for community organizations, workplaces and individuals to share insights for a more strategic and targeted approach. As well as providing white-labeled content to disseminate through their own social and communication channels. To join a working group or partner with the campaign email

Together we can change the outlook on mental health.

Whether you’re interested in submitting your pet, sharing your story, being the boots on the ground, or being an ally we would love to work with you.

1.) Submit your pet at and follow Spokesimals Midwest on Facebook and on Instagram @SpokesimalsMidwest.

2.) Share your story for What Makes Us at and follow us on Facebook, and on Twitter and Instagram @WhatMakesUsMW.

3.) To be the boots on the ground and join a working group or for general inquiries email

For media inquiries, email

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