GREATER DES MOINES, IA (Nov. 11, 2020) —  Capital Crossroads and Make It OK have received $5,000 from the Polk County Community Betterment Grant Program to reduce mental illness stigma in Iowa. A digital advertising campaign was launched this month to spread the Make It OK message with Polk County citizens.

The Polk County Community Betterment Grant Program provides financial support to non-profit organizations that provide cultural, recreational, educational, and human needs services to citizens.  Make It OK in Iowa is led by the Healthiest State Initiative and receives regional support in central Iowa from Capital Crossroads. This is the second year Polk County has supported the efforts of Make It OK in the region.

“This work has never been more critical than it is today. The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the mental health crisis that our community is facing,” said Polk County Supervisor Angela Connolly. “Nearly three times as many adults have reported symptoms of depression or anxiety than at this time last year, so it is absolutely critical that we have conversations about this issue and advocate for additional mental health services.”

Make It OK is a community campaign to reduce stigma by starting conversations and increasing understanding about mental illness. The campaign was created by HealthPartners in Minnesota in 2012 before being introduced to Iowa in May 2019. Since then, more than 300 Make It OK ambassadors have been trained and more than 166,000 employees have been reached through Make It OK Registered Workplaces.

“This grant will spread awareness about Make It OK and help start more conversations about mental illness in Polk County,” said Jami Haberl, executive director of the Healthiest State Initiative. “The more we talk about mental illness, the more likely it is that the 1 in 5 Iowans who live with mental illnesses will feel safe to ask for help and access the resources they deserve.”

The digital advertising campaign will direct Polk County citizens to the Make It OK website where they can access resources on what mental illness is and how to talk about it in a supportive way. The website also includes stories of Iowans living with mental illness and opportunities to get more involved with the Make It OK campaign. Learn more:

“Capital Crossroads is grateful for Polk County’s continued support of our region’s projects, and appreciative that leaders in our community see the value of educating individuals on mental illness and the resources that exist to provide help,” said Emily Kessinger, director of Capital Crossroads.

Make It OK is sponsored by Delta Dental, HealthPartners UnityPoint Health, MercyOne Des Moines, Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, Polk County Board of Supervisors and United Way of Central Iowa.

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About the Healthiest State Initiative

The Healthiest State Initiative is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization driven by the goal to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation. By engaging worksites, communities, schools, retail food, organizations, institutions and individuals, we can inspire Iowans and their communities to improve their health and happiness, and ultimately achieve our goal. For more information, visit

About Capital Crossroads

Capital Crossroads is a bold but achievable vision pushing Central Iowans to dream big, not settle for good enough, think long term and work together. Capital Crossroads brings together community volunteers to meet the challenges of the future while building on our past successes. It is in partnership with the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Catch Des Moines, the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Polk County, Prairie Meadows and the United Way of Central Iowa. To learn more, visit