WellPoint Foundation Supports National Campaign Focused on Depression Among Men

INDIANAPOLIS, April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Depression is a serious but treatable health condition that affects more than six million American men. This condition will be the focus of a national campaign during Mental Health Awareness Month in May, called Men Get Depression, which is supported by the WellPoint Foundation, the charitable giving arm of WellPoint, Inc., the nation's largest health benefits company.

The Men Get Depression National Awareness Campaign is an effort to increase knowledge, reduce stigma, and promote screening and treatment for male depression. State of the Art, an Academy Award(R)-winning communications company began developing the project more than six years ago. Funding for the research, development and evaluation of the outreach materials was provided by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. In addition to WellPoint Foundation, support for the outreach and broadcast dissemination was provided by Charles E. Kubly Foundation, Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, Community Voices: Healthcare for the Underserved at Morehouse School of Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Carson J. Spencer Foundation.

Included in this campaign is a one-hour documentary, which will begin airing on public television stations in May 2008, that explores the corrosive effect of depression on the self, relationships and careers through the intimate profiles of real men, including a former NFL Quarterback, a Fortune 500 CEO, an Iraq War veteran, a university professor, a pastor and others.

"Men and women of all ages, economic status, racial and ethnic backgrounds can be affected by symptoms of depression," said Cheryl Noncarrow, president of WellPoint's Behavioral Health division. "Given the continued prevalence of depression and its associated costs to individuals and society, we are pleased to support, through our charitable foundation, this effort to create awareness around the symptoms and treatments for this condition."

Funding from the WellPoint Foundation will enable expansion of the campaign through educational outreach activities in the 14 states served by WellPoint's affiliated health plans. In addition, a Web site was developed to serve as a resource center and guide for planning community events. Community organizations, employers, churches, and individuals can download free resources, a community toolkit and film clips at http://www.mengetdepression.com .

Throughout the month of May, events will take place in various communities throughout WellPoint's markets. To broaden the reach of the campaign, outreach partnerships have already been established with a number of leading national and community-based mental health organizations. Additionally, due to the barriers to both awareness and treatment of mental illness and mental health care within the Latino and African American communities, outreach activities will include a specific focus on reaching men and their families within these communities. To increase access and usability, all materials have been developed in English and Spanish, reviewed for low literacy and closed captioned.

About the WellPoint Foundation

The WellPoint Foundation is a private, non-profit organization wholly funded by WellPoint, Inc. Through charitable contributions and programs, the Foundation promotes WellPoint's inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that WellPoint's affiliate health plans serve.

With combined assets of $200 million, the Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to reduce the number of uninsured as well as organizations that promote the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These disease states and medical conditions include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company's annual associate giving campaign and provides a 50 percent match of associates' campaign pledges.

To learn more about the WellPoint Foundation please visit http://www.wellpointfoundation.org .

SOURCE WellPoint Foundation

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