AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) – A statewide campaign aimed at bringing awareness to mental health launched today in Amarillo.
‘Okay to Say’ is designed to give area residents the chance to openly talk about mental health issues, as well as share their stories through social media by using #okaytosay.
Supporters behind this conversation will use the local stories to find the specific issues people deal with in Amarillo. Once they start collecting these issues, they will come up with strategies to address them and provide the community with more help.
“It’s important to increase awareness because so many people are affected by mental behavior issues,” Rep. Four Price said. “Secondarily they don’t know often where to go for treatment, so I think the more awareness we can bring to the issue and the more awareness we can bring to whose accessible to help them the better off our community will be overall.”
One issue supporters agree on is a lack of counselors or facilities where individuals with mental health issues can receive proper care.
“There are people with mental health needs who can’t find a provider to help them because we don’t have enough providers, especially psychiatrists,” said Laura Street, co-chair of Panhandle Behavioral Health Initiative. “There are insurance issues, too. They don’t have insurance, so there is not a way to pay for a counselor or provider.”
‘Okay to Say’ organizers say removing mental care’s stigma is a top priority. By starting this conversation, they hope to bring awareness and motivate community members to share their stories.
“It is important for you to step up and talk because someone you know, whether you know it or not, is suffering from mental illness or suffering because somebody they love is suffering from mental illness,” said Andy Keller, President & CEO of Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute. “Just the simple act of you talking about your own concerns and being open to other people talking can make all the difference in the world.”
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