the Mask

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“I am 26 years old and I am from Hurley, Mississippi. I come from a family of mental health issues on both my dad’s and mother’s side and most importantly, myself. I have always known something was not right with me. In my family’s words, I have often “flown off the handle.” I was never taught how to handle or control my emotions. I’ve never wanted to seek help and did not know there were services available from my Community Mental Health Center, Singing River Services. Before the pandemic, I could keep myself busy and ignore my mental health. COVID-19

Melissa T. – Jackson County

“My name is Melissa Thompson. I am a 52-year-old mother of 2 and grandma of 7. I have always had some anxiety in the past but could never afford to get the medical attention that I needed. When the pandemic hit my anxiety was in overload. I had so many sleepless nights, where I would worry and stress, and also dealt with depression. I went from living life to thinking about death every hour of the day praying that I live to see another day. I was overwhelmed with my anxiety, but no longer had my best friend to talk

Paul W. – A Mississippi Veteran

“My name is Paul Webster and I’m 38 years old. I pretty much had a normal childhood. I had a great upbringing, a good mom and dad, made good grades, and always had high hopes and dreams. After Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, I lost everything. I really didn’t have a house to go back to.  Pretty much everything that I had known and worked for was gone. I decided to move up to Chattanooga, Tennessee with to live with my girlfriend. I needed to support us, so I talked to a recruiter and ended up joining the Marine Corps.

About the
Behind the Mask Campaign

Behind the Mask is a statewide initiative to promote mental health services for Mississippians during the COVID-19 pandemic. The statewide campaign is funded through a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 


For all press-related inquiries
please contact
the Mississippi Department of Mental Health (DMH)
Phone: 601.359.1288