The “Okay to Say” campaign is a movement initiated by the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute (MMHPI) in order to increase awareness that most mental illnesses are treatable. Their goal is to change the dialogue around mental health and diminish wrong perceptions by eliminating discriminative and stereotypical language surrounding mental illness. The institute accomplishes this by growing an understanding for the mentally ill, improving access to community services for diagnosis and treatment, and accelerating the progress in the quality and delivery of mental health care. Moreover, “Okay to Say” encourages people into adding their voice and talking more openly about mental illness because, “As with any medical condition, it should be okay to say you or a loved one has a mental illness.”
We interviewed students at Wilson College about how they deal with mental illness and their general thoughts about the disease. Some were open about their own mental illness experience while others decided to remain anonymous.
These are their stories:
As a person that has had a lot of anxiety, I have relied on poetry to keep my mind off of it.
I feel that people with mental disorders should seek help. They should book a therapy session and speak openly about their disorder with a professional.
- Dereck Ivey
Whenever I get anxious or feel depressed, I like to splatter paint; it’s a good way to release stress.
- Shelby Burkett
Suicide is an epidemic and whenever I get those feelings I like to resort to religion. I spent countless nights where I would cry myself to sleep thinking that no one cared for me. And I have actually self-harmed before, but lately I been seeking more of God to help me through it.
When I was younger, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I’ve endured countless panic attacks since then. When I get anxious, I often lose control of my body. That’s when I rely on music and video games. They serve as an escape from the real world. A place where I’m me.