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May is Mental Health Awareness Month Let’s Make It OK

May 14, 2019
By Anesa McGregor , Emmetsburg News

I've written a few times about my son's struggle with mental health issues. It is a subject I am very passionate about, but it took my son to make me understand and realize just because someone has a mental health issue, it's no different from any other treatable ailment. It's OK. Just don't suffer in silence.

There is a stigma that surrounds people with mental health problems. Until recently, someone with a mental illness was put into an asylum and forgotten about by their family. We've gotten away from this but society still looks at someone with mental illness in a not so good way. Don't talk about it and it will go away.

It doesn't go away. In fact, people keeping their feelings bottled up has lead to more suicides than I care to think about. It's time that our generations takes a stand, erasing the stigma that is attached to mental illness. It's time to Make It OK!

Each year, one in four Americans experiences a mental illness. Most will wait an average of 10 years before seeking treatment, largely due to the stigma. May is mental health awareness month, which makes it the perfect time to start talking about mental illness and what we can do to Make It OK.

We are part of a local effort to change the hearts and minds about the misconceptions about mental illness. The effort is part of a campaign called "Make It OK," and is designed to encourage people to talk more openly about mental illness and ask for help.

When we start talking, we realize that mental illnesses are more common and relatable than we thin. And more importantly, people experiencing mental illness will be treated with respect, acceptance and be more apt to get the care they need.

Many of us don't know how to respond to people when they bring up mental illness. But the answer is that it can be very similar to what you would say to those who have cancer or heart disease: "What can I do to help?", "I'm here if you need me.", "Can I drive you to an appointment?", "Things will get better."

Visit to learn more about the campaign to learn what you can say.

Take the pledge now! One can help stop the silence around mental illnesses now, by taking a pledge. Let your friends and relatives know it's ok to talk about mental illness. Together, we can Make It OK!



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