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Help Stop the Silence & Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness

Western Wisconsin Health is taking part in a community-wide initiative called Make It OK that focuses on reducing stigma by starting conversations about mental illness. Each year, 1 in 5 adults will experience a mental illness, and 60% do not seek treatment according to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). Even more concerning, 1 in 4 adolescents in grades 9-12 reported feeling sad or hopeless almost every day for 2 weeks in a row or more in the most recent Wisconsin Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The stigma surrounding mental illnesses is one of the barriers that keep people from getting the help they need and deserve.

Mental illnesses are treatable health conditions very common in the world today.  They can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, religion, or income. Unfortunately, people are still afraid to talk about them due to shame, misunderstanding, negative attitudes, and fear of discrimination. We all have the ability to help to “Make It OK” to talk about mental illness and stop stigma.

Western Wisconsin Health is hosting a Make It OK Community Kick-off Event at the Baldwin-Woodville High School on Tuesday, May 2 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm. Join us for a special presentation and conversation on mental illness and ways to reduce the stigma. This event will feature a panel conversation with healthcare, mental health, school, community and faith leaders. The panel will discuss local strategies to reduce stigma and plans to improve mental health care in the region in addition to answering any questions that you may have.

You can help spread the word on ways to reduce mental health stigma. Consider attending our free training to become a Make It OK ambassador on Tuesday, May 16 from 5:00 – 7:00 pm at Western Wisconsin Health. At this training, you will receive the tools and resources to be able to talk about Make It OK at community groups and events. All are welcome; you do not need to be a mental health expert to participate.

Learn more about the Make It OK campaign at makeitok.org. For more information or to register for our upcoming Make It OK events, please visit wwhealth.org in the “Classes” section or contact Natasha Ward at 715-684-1285 or community.wellness@wwhealth.org.

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