Grant funds substance abuse billboard campaign in White County

Five billboards are up around White County encouraging people who feel trapped by addiction to seek help.

Posted: Dec 19, 2019 11:43 PM
Updated: Dec 19, 2019 11:49 PM

WHITE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - Leaders in White County are continuing to find unique ways to reach out to people struggling with addiction. The purpose of a billboard campaign looking to connect people with resources and help break the stigma.

"We think this is something new, but this has been going on for decades," said Monticello Mayor-Elect Cathy Gross, who has worked with the White County United Way for 20 years.

For decades, people have struggled with addiction with little help. That struggle has manifested in different ways, whether it's been alcohol, meth or opioids. But the White County United Way is letting people know there is a way out.

"Cathy Gross, our now Mayor-Elect, made us aware of a grant through the Accelerate Indiana Municipalities Foundation," said Lynn Saylor, the AmeriCorp Volunteer with the White County United Way. Saylor is the one who actually wrote the grant.

"We received $3,400 upon learning that we had received the grant," said Gross.

The Substance Abuse Task Force decided to spread awareness through a billboard campaign.

"The message of the person stuck in the pill bottle is that often people who are involved in addiction feel trapped," said Saylor. "We were hoping to communicate that recovery is possible, help is out there."

This is the second phase of the billboard campaign since the fall. There are currently five billboards up across White County that will only be up for the next few weeks.

"We know we have a problem and there's hope, that's phase one," said Gross. "Phase two, this is where you can get help."

In today's age of advanced communication at our fingertips, we wanted to know: why billboards?

"If we're trying to change the stigma, then we need reach out to my generation because we're the ones that are, for lack of a better term, judging," said Gross. "It's my generation that's saying not in my family, don't expose it to light, it's a secret and it's shameful."

Gross said if they only focused on social media, they could miss out on reaching a whole demographic of people. They hope by having the billboards out in the open, will help encourage people to open up about their struggles.

"Stigma keeps so many people, so many families, who are struggling with substance use in silence and isolation," said Saylor. "You don't have to be isolated and that community support is there."

You can get in contact with the Quick Response Team by calling 765-490-0381.

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