By Sara Battista and Joni Agronin, NAMI Communications Interns
On Tuesday, July 23, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) launched their new “OK2TALK” campaign aimed at educating the public and encouraging youth to start a conversation about mental health. The campaign features a series of TV and radio PSAs to be used as a platform to spark a productive, nation-wide dialogue about the realities of mental illness and the availability of help and support.
The NAB initiated their OK2TALK campaign following the National Conference on Mental Health last month. NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith has a special connection to the cause given that his son took his own life in 2003 after living with depression for many years. At the launch, Gordon shared his personal story and his hopes that encouraging families to have honest conversations about mental illness will help prevent other families from experiencing the tragedy that he faced with the loss of his son.
The launch featured a multitude of speakers including senators and house representatives advocating for a bipartisan effort toward improving public accessibility to mental health care. NAMI Northern Virginia member Ellie Hoptman gave a face to the campaign when she shared her personal story of struggle and recovery. Her perspective as a teen growing up with bipolar disorder served as a call to action, proving that talking about mental illness can be a powerful step in the healing process. In her speech, Ellie recalls the pivotal moment at which she finally opened up to her peers and realized that she was not alone. “There were people out there like me and it made all the difference in the world.”
If you or a loved one is touched by mental illness, or if you simply need a safe and supportive place to talk, we encourage you to become a part of the conversation by visiting OK2TALK.org.
More than one-fourth of young adults avoid talking about mental illness, but having a conversation could save a life.
You can watch the press conference in its entirety, here.