United Ways of California Aims To Calm The Storm Of Toxic Stress With A Nationwide Campaign Providing Access To Resources

Resources to Address Stress and the Causes of Stress Are Just a Text Message Away

January 28, 2021 9:00 AM EST

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LAGUNA HILLS, Calif., Jan. 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- COVID-19 health fears, housing needs and economic tensions are among the many factors triggering the health condition known as toxic stress that is overwhelming many Americans right now.

To address this challenge, United Ways of California is launching a campaign to help people recognize the signs of toxic stress, understand the dangers, and to give them a single access point to seek help. The campaign also provides a nationwide SMS response mechanism providing free access to information and resources for dealing with stress. 

Starting Feb. 1, those who text "stress" to 211211 or visit 211211.org are stepped through a number of questions that will direct them to the information and resources they need most - be they financial, food related, health or COVID-19 related. The stress relief campaign is available in English and Spanish.

"The unbearable weight of COVID-19 is triggering a Toxic Stress response across California and throughout our country.  We know that Toxic Stress can lead to significant health impacts - from an increased likelihood of heart attack, diabetes and stroke to depression, substance use, and suicide," said Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, California Surgeon General. "By recognizing that you may have an overactive stress response and accessing resources available, it is possible to heal and recover."

Known as "Calming the Storm: The Toxic Stress Campaign," this program aims to increase awareness of stress and its health impacts, and provide needed information and resources to those for whom COVID and the challenges of 2020 and 2021 have become particularly challenging.

"Toxic stress is a serious and growing problem, especially during the COVID-19 health and economic crisis but few understand the harm stress can cause and most don't know of resources available to lessen the effects of stress and improve their resiliency," said Peter Manzo, President & CEO, United Ways of California.

"Through this campaign, people can connect to education, resources and tips to help them mitigate the impact of toxic stress confidentially and at a time convenient for them," he added.

The campaign is being supported through the generosity of Experian, the Chuck and Ernestina Krutzkamp Foundation and several anonymous donors.

The campaign will be promoted through a multi-media effort including social media, radio and public service announcements (PSAs) in both English and Spanish. 

The animated PSAs were created by Ignition Creative, an advertising firm with offices in Los Angeles and London, as a pro bono project.

"While our work scope usually consists of film and television advertising, we were eager to lend our creative services," said Jaclyn Thomas, Vice President of AV, Ignition Creative.  "Our world has been through some intense changes; if part of that change is that we're able to translate our skill set to help people in need we felt compelled to do so," she said. 

Calming the Storm: The Toxic Stress Campaign is an extension of United Way's work to strengthen families and communities responding to disasters and emergencies, including the COVID pandemic. In California and across the country, United Way has worked previously with partners including Airbnb, Cybercrime Support Network, FamilyWize and IMB, which have provided both expertise and financial assistance to help victims of natural disasters.

More information on Toxic Stress can be found in Roadmap for Resilience: The California Surgeon General's Report on Adverse Childhood Experiences, Toxic Stress, and Health. https://osg.ca.gov/sg-report/

About United Ways of California

United Ways of California improves health, education and financial results for low income children and families by enhancing and coordinating the community impact, giving and advocacy work of California's United Ways.  

About Ignition Creative

Ignition is a fiercely creative, independent agency that unites the art of branding with the attitude of entertainment.  The agency has offices in Los Angeles and London.


Eric Lindbom

323-497-0151/ eric@anonymousllc.com


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SOURCE United Ways of California

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