Make It OK is a community campaign to reduce the stigma around mental illness. From just talking to friends and family about mental health to becoming an ambassador and spreading the word yourself, every effort helps. Regina Suhrbrier, the Outreach Coordinator at Community Health Center in Fort Dodge, took community involvement one step further to let her whole community know that it’s ok to not be ok!
Through her position at Community Health Center, her work is already intimately tied to providing healthcare services including medical, dental and mental health. Regina’s position as Outreach Coordinator gives her the unique opportunity to spread the message about these important branches of healthcare to her community.
Coincidentally, Community Health Center has seen an increased need for mental health and is expanding to add more providers to their Fort Dodge clinic. Whether this was due to financial issues or the widespread lack of available mental health professionals in the state they wanted to help. “We find people struggle to find mental health care,” Regina said, “regardless of finances we want people to know they can get the help they need.”
Regina saw what other communities had planned for Mental Health Awareness Month, and in just a couple of weeks, she planned a thirty-minute walk around the Fort Dodge town square to spread awareness about reducing the stigma of mental illness. Regina shared resources about mental health using social media, press media to local outlets and Make It OK tools including posters and mental health affirmations to begin the conversations before the walk was held on May 20th.
With something as simple as a group walk around town square, Community Health Center of Fort Dodge made big strides in fighting the stigma in their city. “We always want to be involved in the mental health conversation,” Regina said.
“There’s a lot of struggle out there and we’ve seen a lot of need for help”.
Community events like these are invaluable to fighting the stigma around mental illness across Iowa. With such an impressive turnout, it’s safe to say Regina and Community Health Center of Fort Dodge did more than participate in the conversation around mental health. They likely started their own conversation to Make It OK in Fort Dodge.