Okay to Say™ Launches in Amarillo as National Mental Health Awareness Month Begins
“Okay to Say,” a statewide initiative aimed at ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues and to provide resources to those in need, officially launched in Amarillo today at a luncheon designed to rally support from local stakeholders, political figures and the business community.
May is national Mental Health Awareness Month. A recent study commissioned by the the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute revealed three-in-four Texans either suffer from mental health issues or are affected by someone who does.
Everyone knows someone who is dealing with this issue. It’s important that we let people know that it’s Okay to Say – that they feel they can talk openly about their condition, just like they talk openly about any other medical condition. Help is available for these who need it – and so is acceptance, compassion and understanding.
Laura Street, board member, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute and co-chair, Panhandle Behavioral Health Initiative
The luncheon included remarks by Street, Rep. Four Price of the Texas House of Representatives, 87th District, and Andy Keller, PhD, President and CEO of the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute. The program was held at the Amarillo Area Foundation and encouraged Amarillo and panhandle residents to join the campaign by visiting okaytosay.org. This movement provides community members a platform to add their voice and share their stories of how mental health issues have affected their lives and the lives of friends, family and colleagues.
“Okay to Say” launched statewide on February 29th with a multimedia campaign that included well known Texans such as President George W. Bush, Emmitt Smith and Mark Cuban. The campaign aims to increase public awareness about mental health issues that affect Texans and the effective treatments available, as well as the challenges and successes people encounter when they seek help for this treatable disease. Okay to Say asks individuals and organizations to show their support by signing their names and sharing their stories and support at okaytosay.org. By talking openly about mental health, Okay to Say hopes to raise awareness that treatment works and is available across Texas.
The first step to getting help is realizing that it’s okay to say you have a mental illness or know someone who does. By talking more openly about mental health, we can lead the way, as individuals and as a state, in getting people the help they need to get better and live their lives, not their illness.
Andy Keller, PhD, President and CEO, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute