BOISE, Idaho — On Sunday, KTVB unveiled a new series in a partnership with Optum Idaho called Hello Idaho. The goal of our new series to begin an ongoing conversation about struggles with mental health, domestic violence and other forms of abuse, and substance abuse and addiction.
Hello Idaho will first focus on reducing loneliness, encouraging inclusion and the foundation of mental health awareness to build on.
"This is a long-term initiative that was created out of the pandemic. Because of the pandemic, it's even more important to have this type of campaign to encourage all of us to reach out to each other and just say 'Hello,'" Georgann Benjamin, the executive director of Optum Idaho, said.
While it's a simple concept, it will have a massive impact on mental health awareness during these trying and difficult times.
Under the umbrella of mental health, Hello Idaho will report on child abuse prevention, suicide prevention, substance abuse and domestic violence.
"Maybe there are real issues at our neighbor's house next to us that maybe we need to be certain about and should reach out and help them. Or a child that might be going through some things without being in school, feeling more isolated so, again, it's about all of these issues that need to be addressed," Benjamin said.
In the coming months, KTVB will be speaking with those who have experienced some of the darkest moments in life and were able to find hope and resilience. As we present these stories, we will share the resources that anyone can use.
But will also share stories from those who didn't find help in time and share their stories so others know how to help prevent future tragedies.
Optum Idaho, which specializes in behavioral health, originally built the Hello Idaho program last fall and we planned on launching it during Mental Health Awareness Month but the coronavirus pandemic shifted the launch to now.
Since the pandemic began, social isolation is becoming a more common issue throughout the country and for children. Social isolation is the anxiety, loneliness and/or the feeling of being left out since pandemic has drastically changed how people interact with each other. These feelings, if left unattended, this feeling can morph into violence and suicide.
This series will share stories and resources that will help address the growing epidemic of social isolation.
We hope you'll join in on the conversation and check in with those around you and say hello.
Watch more 'Hello Idaho':
Watch our latest conversations about mental health in our YouTube playlist: