In Focus: Bigfork Recruits Jazz Musician To Help Kick Off ‘Make It OK’ Mental Health Campaign
Jazz music can express a lot of emotions from happiness to love and even sorrow. That may have been what made it the perfect partner in launching Bigfork’s “Make It OK” campaign. “Make It OK” is designed to encourage people to talk more openly about mental illness.
“Mental health is super important. The statistics are that one in five people have a mental illness, and so that means just about everybody knows somebody that has a mental illness. If you don’t, you probably do – you just don’t know about it,” says Bryan Boone, the mayor of Bigfork.
The Edge Of The Wilderness team recruited Grand Rapids guitarist Sam Miltich to help kick off the campaign. Miltich has a personal connection with mental illness. His show “The Improvised Life” was comprised of original music and other music that he credits with helping him with his struggles.
“Music has always been a source of healing for me when I first became ill, I really gravitated towards Thelonious Monk’s music and it was just sort of a center piece of my recovery, and I think having a daily discipline and practice of music has been a huge for me and my personal recovery from schizophrenia,” says Miltich.
When dealing with a mental illness, it kind of feel like you life is going in and out of focus and that you’re alone. Make It OK’s goal is to break that stigma.
“Even as I’m talking, when I say ‘mental health,’ there’s a certain image that comes into your mind and because of that image, because of that negative connotation, people won’t get the help that they need, and so it’s important that we turn the tide on that,” says Boone.
In between songs, Miltich takes the time to talk to the audience about his journey. He travels all over the state with his music and says he hopes listeners leave feeling understood.
“There is a hopeful optimistic message of recovery and that recovery from mental illness is absolutely possible, and to not despair that you or your loved one can be well,” says Miltich.