Multnomah County has been taking multiple measures this past year to challenge the stigma of mental health, and they recently introduced a new initiative that will involve TriMet.

Ads will be placed on the backs of buses, on benches, and at bus stops to share the stories of those struggling with mental illnesses. Leticia Sainz, in an interview with KATU2, explained their reasoning for sharing stories rather than statistics and facts. “Storytelling and stories is the way to change people’s hearts and minds around stigma. . . Our goal is to really tell just a small story about people in our community who have mental health challenges. These are people we all know and love, come from different walks of life.”

While not real people are used in the advertisements, the program made sure to pick images that would relate to the majority of diverse communities in Multnomah County, whether it is different ethnicities, ages, or gender.

Sainz concluded by stating, “We definitely hope that people get another insight into the people around them in our community and how prevalent it is to have people who are struggling with mental health concerns. . .That’s the story we’re telling because that’s the story of mental health in our community.”

Ads are already appearing on the back of buses and more will be revealed in the upcoming months.

Helen Cook is a current honors student at Benedictine College, where she is studying History with a minor in Theology. She is heavily active in student life, participating in three music ensembles as a violinist and leading Ravens Respect Life as president. When she is not busy with school and student life activities, she is found reading the many classical works of literature.