The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in partnership with the Ad Council, has launched a new public service campaign to raise awareness among Hipsanics/Latinos about mental illness, combat stereotypes and stigma and increase support for people suffering from psychological disorders.

“Raising awareness that effective treatments for mental illnesses are available and that people recover, can encourage those in need to seek help,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. “This outreach to the Hispanic community will help open dialogue about supporting friends or family members with mental health problems in a culturally relevant way.”

The campaign will feature posters, website advertisements, billboards, radio spots and a Spanish language website structured around social media concepts. Though not the coolest or most innovative thing out there, the website is trying to harness how younger Hispanics to talk to one another and it’s a great first step. Perhaps next time they can hire some clever young coder to design a Facebook or iPhone application that uses a game to explore concepts related to mental illness and stigma. Instead of a first-person shooter game, maybe a first-person hugger?

As one of the taglines used in the campaign says: Este es el primer paso. ¿Cuándo quieres que demos el segundo?