“Make It Okay” Presentation Aims To End Mental Illness Stigma At BSU
Bemidji State University wants their faculty, students and staff to know that it’s okay to talk about mental illness. Today, strides were made to help break the stigma with a “Make It Okay” presentation.
“It was meant to be an interactive session where people can talk about their experiences, learn a little bit about mental illness,” says Kelly Brevig, suicide prevention coordinator for Evergreen Youth and Family Services in Bemidji and the facilitator of the presentation.
There was a lot of shuffling around the room for the group activities and naturally, a lot of group discussion.
Brevig says, “We did a lot of group discussion and had practice time talking about our own stories and sharing as much as we were comfortable with so we could be able to leave here and look around the room and say, ‘I am not the only one with some experiences in mental illness in myself or a friend or a family member.’”
A big message the Make-It-Okay presentation wanted to send out was that just talking about mental illness could really help a lot.
“We often times don’t self identify that there’s something going on and we don’t know ourselves that this is more than just being sad. Maybe there’s a deeper depression that things just haven’t gotten better after two weeks,” says Brevig.
People also learned that you shouldn’t be afraid to check on your loved ones.
Brevig says, “It’s about identifying what those things are, having conversations with other people like being able to say, ‘hey, I notice you. I see you. What can I do to help?’”
At the end of the presentation, attendees were given information on where to go to for help. Brevig says it’s important to remember that you don’t have to be suicidal to use resources like the National Suicide Prevention Line, the Crisis Text Line or the Mobile Crisis Hotline.
She says about the Mobile Crisis Hotline, “They can come to you. They can come to the home, to the workplace, to the school and they can help make a safety plan and put those things together of ‘how do we move forward?’, and so it’s an okay resource to use. We want people to be able to use it and reach out and get help.”
Attendees of the session were also given the opportunity to learn how to facilitate their own “Make It Okay” presentation.
For help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Line at (800) 273-TALK (8255) or text “MN” to 741741. You can also call the Mobile Crisis Hotline at (800) 422-0045.