Minnesota Hospital Association


March 31, 2016

Minnesota’s hospitals launch statewide conversation on addressing mental health in communities

St. Paul, Minn. – Minnesota hospitals and health systems today launched a statewide campaign to show the impact mental health has on families and communities around the state, and engage the public in a statewide conversation about how best to address the state’s biggest public health issue. According to a recent Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) poll, 85 percent of Minnesotans reported mental health is a serious problem in their community, with more than 40 percent saying it is very serious.   

The mental health public education campaign is part of MHA’s Strengthening Healthy Communities initiative, which highlights important health care issues being addressed outside of the hospital in their communities. The mental health campaign will continue work already begun with community partners, mental healthcare stakeholders and policy makers to ensure mental health care is a top priority in the state.   

Using the hashtag #HealthyMinds, the “Strengthening Healthy Communities” mental health campaign will feature stories about the impact of mental health issues from the perspective of the patient, families, law enforcement, schools, health care providers and other community members. The goal is to highlight and help spread innovative partnerships hospitals have with community members to improve mental health outcomes and access to care statewide.   

For example, a new video highlights the impact of mental illness on children and adolescents and the importance of intervening early with mental health services. HealthPartners Park Nicollet and the St. Louis Park School District have partnered to provide services via telemedicine to students who may not otherwise have access to mental health care. The video is accompanied with digital display and video ads. The video is available at www.mnhealthycommunities.org.   

“Minnesota’s hospitals have a critical role to play in addressing mental health challenges in communities throughout the state,” said Lawrence Massa, president and CEO of MHA. “But hospitals and health systems are just one piece of the complex mental health system in Minnesota, and it will take a shared community commitment and approach to truly improve mental health.”   

The impact of mental health affects every Minnesotan. In Minnesota, over 700,000 individuals, or more than one in 10, experience mental illness. Less than half will receive treatment for a variety of reasons, including stigma and barriers created by a lack of access. Half of all mental illness begins by age 14.   

In MHA’s poll, more than four in 10 Minnesotans reported knowing someone who has missed a day of work in the past year because of a mental health or depression issue.   

“Every Minnesotan deserves access to safe, effective and affordable care for mental health,” said Massa. “The work ahead of us is a shared community responsibility to reduce stigma, bolster prevention initiatives and improve overall health.”   

The campaign is grounded in five core principles that hospitals and health systems believe are essential in reforming the complex mental health system in Minnesota:

  • Share experiences - Building greater awareness of mental health challenges and improving care starts with community members sharing their experiences and learnings 
  • Engage early & often - Treat mental health by recognizing conditions early and ensuring Minnesotans have access to appropriate levels of care 
  • Foster stronger community partnerships - A community-wide approach is required to develop safe, effective and culturally competent solutions to identify and treat mental health conditions among all Minnesotans regardless of geography, income, ethnicity, gender or age
  • Use good data to make informed decisions - Consistent reliable data will inform well-founded solutions to mental health
  • Expand education, innovation & technology – Minnesota can identify and treat mental health conditions by using the latest technology and innovations, and ensuring communities have access to qualified, trained mental health specialists   

The campaign will be a multi-year effort for Minnesota’s hospitals and health systems. Additional stories and initiatives will be announced in the coming months.   


About the Minnesota Hospital Association
The Minnesota Hospital Association represents Minnesota’s hospitals and health systems, which provide quality care for their patients and meet the needs of their communities.   

About Strengthening Healthy Communities
Strengthening Healthy Communities highlights the ways Minnesota’s hospitals work beyond physical walls to strengthen the health of Minnesotans and our communities.