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Make It OK to Talk About Mental Illness

Mental health is a critical aspect of our well-being, yet for many of us in the Black community, the burden of mental health conditions is a significant challenge. Statistics tell us that more than 7 million Black people in the U.S. are living with a mental health condition. 77% of Black youth have diagnosed mental health disorders. Suicide was the second leading cause of death for Black people ages 15 to 24 in 2019. The need for awareness, understanding, and support is clear, and the urgency of addressing mental health issues within our community has never been more apparent.

Make It OK - Back the Black

In response to these alarming trends, the "Make It OK - Back the Black" movement has set out to make a meaningful difference and make it OK to talk about mental illnesses in the Black community. This community campaign aims to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness by initiating conversations and increasing understanding. This week I will be hosting the first of monthly presentations, held both in-person for those in the Des Moines area and virtually for those outside of Des Moines.

The 50-minute presentation for the Black community by the Black community - will allow those in attendance to:

  1. Learn More About Make It OK: Gain insights into the objectives and strategies of the Make It OK campaign, understanding its role in fostering a more supportive and understanding community and how you can get involved. From the #BackTheBlack kickoff event in May of 2023 to the events we've held this year, there’s much to learn about how you can be a part of this movement.

  2. Understand How to Reduce Stigma: Explore key messages and resources that can be helpful in reducing the stigma associated with mental health issues, empowering our community to seek the help necessary without fear of judgment.

  3. Confidence in Open Conversations: The presentation aims to inspire confidence to speak openly about mental illness in the Black community. By providing the necessary tools and knowledge, attendees can play a crucial role in supporting our community and helping those in need access care and support.

The statistics surrounding mental health in the Black community are alarming, but initiatives like "Make It OK – Back the Black" offer hope and tangible solutions. By breaking the silence, fostering understanding, and reducing stigma, we can create a more inclusive and supportive environment for our Black brothers and sisters facing mental health challenges. It's time to start a conversation and make it ok to talk openly about mental health in our community.

To learn more about #BackTheBlack, check out their website here. You can learn more about the upcoming monthly presentations here.

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