Make It OK Anti-Stigma Campaign Launched in Central Iowa
Over 100 mental health advocates and community leaders gathered at Des Moines University Wednesday to hear details on Make It OK, a community campaign to reduce stigma associated with mental illness.
Make It OK was announced as a statewide initiative in May at the Healthiest State Initiatives’ annual conference and today advocates heard how to implement the awareness campaign in their own organizations and throughout the Central Iowa community.
“Mental health has been identified as a top priority in 86 of the 99 statewide community health needs assessments,” said Jami Haberl, Healthiest State Initiative executive director and Capital Crossroads Wellness Capital tri-chair. “It’s due to that statewide need that the Healthiest State is helping educate Iowans and get the conversations going throughout Iowa.”
At a local level, Capital Crossroads, the region’s strategic vision plan, is spearheading the movement. “Addressing mental health stigma was lifted up as a priority in Capital Crossroads 2.0,” said Nikki Syverson, Capital Crossroads director. “Therefore, it makes perfect sense for Capital Crossroads Wellness Capital to convene partners and encourage collaboration when it comes to reducing mental health stigma.”
The message of Make It OK is simple: mental illness is common and mental illness is treatable. Statistics show that one in five Iowans will have some kind of mental illness in a given year, and many don’t get the help they need due to stigma, fear of repercussions at work and the lack of access to quality and affordable treatment.
Make It OK was founded in Minnesota in 2012 and Iowa is the first state to launch its own statewide structure based on the Minnesota format. Individuals and organizations are encouraged to get involved at makeitok.org/Iowa.