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Monday, November 30, 2020

SLO Hotline for mental health gets a boost from Verdin Marketing

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2020 at 5:04 PM

For six years Verdin Marketing has held the 24-Hour Give, rebranding a nonprofit for free in 24 hours. However, in the spirit of a year that has called for change, the marketing firm is pivoting to raise awareness about local mental health services.

In partnership with the Transitions-Mental Health Association, the marketing firm is developing a campaign for the SLO Hotline through the month of December. The project is called The 2020 Give.

click to enlarge WELLNESS COVERAGE In partnership with Transitions-Mental Health Association, Verdin Marketing is raising awareness about the SLO Hotline, a mental health guidance phone line. - IMAGE COURTESY OF TRANSITIONS-MENTAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION
  • WELLNESS COVERAGE In partnership with Transitions-Mental Health Association, Verdin Marketing is raising awareness about the SLO Hotline, a mental health guidance phone line.
Similar to many companies, firm President and Chief Strategy Officer Mary Verdin told New Times that hosting more than 20 people in a conference room for the big planning session along with around-the-clock collaboration between people wouldn’t have worked this year due to COVID-19 pandemic restraints.

“But ultimately I decided that, though a rebrand has been very valuable for the past six give recipients, this year maybe there was something the community needed more. Our goal is to make an impact, and the opportunity in 2020 looked a little different,” Verdin said.

After doing some research about community issues, and looking at those exacerbated by COVID-19, Verdin said she found that mental health was an area affecting everyone.

She spoke with Transitions-Mental Health Association’s (TMHA) Jill Bolster-White, who said the number of calls to the SLO Hotline increased in the past several months and the calls to THMA for service referrals have increased as well.

The SLO Hotline is a confidential mental health guidance and crisis and suicide prevention telephone line that also provides mental health resource information. Calling the line is free and help is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“This is interesting because people didn’t know who or where to call, but they were familiar with Transitions-Mental Health Association,” Verdin said. “That’s where the discussion about SLO Hotline came in. People who have never needed support are looking for help, but they don’t know where to turn.”

Michael Kaplan, TMHA’s community engagement director, said that the longer COVID-19 lasts, the greater the cumulative emotional effects will be.

“We are seeing more calls related to both anxiety and depression, and the sense is they definitely stem from the impact of COVID-19,” he said.

One of the main reasons the nonprofit is excited to work with Verdin Marketing, he said, is that TMHA really wants to get the message out that the SLO Hotline is not strictly for crisis situations.

“Our call handlers are prepared to answer all variety of questions regarding mental health, and they have a fantastic database of local services at their fingertips. We hope that more and more of our neighbors will call SLO Hotline for the full spectrum of reasons. We are a great community resource for all things related to mental wellness,” Kaplan said.

Verdin said the campaign will hopefully also show that there are volunteer opportunities available for those who want to help and that TMHA can always use donations.

“I think the prevalence of sadness and depression is alarming, and many people feel this and may not realize that it’s something most people are feeling to some degree,” she said. “We can get through this, and it’s OK to lean on others.” ∆

—Karen Garcia
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