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About the Okay to Say™ Movement

Okay to Say is a new Texas-based movement initiated by the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute to increase public awareness about mental health issues and services in Texas, and eliminate discrimination and stereotypes surrounding this treatable disease.
The objective of Okay to Say is to encourage you, and all Texans to: Join the movement. Add your voice. And talk openly about mental illness. As with any medical condition, it should be okay to say you or a loved one has a mental illness. Your stories or support can inspire others to speak out and learn more about mental health.
It’s easy. There are three ways to show your support. Just go to our home page to:
  1. Join the Movement. You can join the movement just by signing the online pledge form promising to help eliminate discrimination and stereotypes surrounding mental illness by modeling an understanding and compassionate attitude.
  2. Add Your Voice. If you or someone you know has mental illness, you can also share your personal story on the community wall and add a photo if you choose. By talking openly about your experience, you can inspire others to support the Okay to Say movement and encourage people with mental illness to seek treatment.
  3. Talk Openly About Mental Health. You can also find information and links on the okaytosay.org website to learn more about mental illness and access to care in Texas, and help grow the movement in your community by sharing what you know and getting others involved.
The Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute started the Okay to Say movement and is engaging with community partners across Texas to help spread the word that mental illness is treatable and that all Texans deserve access to care.
You can look at the In Your Area page for a list of community partners in your vicinity. We hope you'll let your local community service agencies and mental healthcare providers know about the Okay to Say movement and ask them to join. We’ll keep adding to our list of partners as the movement grows.
Yes. We have a tool kit available to community partners that provides materials to promote the Okay to Say movement through your local media. Contact us at: info@texasstateofmind.org.
Okay to Say is strictly a consciousness-raising movement to change social attitudes about mental illness. If you are interested in making a philanthropic gift to support the work of the Meadows Mental Health Institute, click here to donate online. Or, contact your local community service agencies to support mental health services in your area.

About Mental Illness and Mental Health Issues

Please dial 911 or your local Crisis Intervention Hotline number if you or someone you know is experiencing a situation that might be an emergency or if you are in doubt about what you should do. To find 24-Hour Crisis Intervention Numbers by county, visit this site.
Put your Okay to Say pledge into action by learning the facts about mental illness, avoid using derogatory language when talking about mental illness or people who have a mental illness, and have the courage to talk openly about the experience you, a loved one or friend has had treating or recovering from a mental illness.
A survey commissioned by the Institute indicated that 88% of Texans agree that the stigma surrounding mental health issues needs to be removed—but 9 out of 10 Texans think that it is harder to talk about mental health rather than physical issues. The key to changing stereotypical ideas and society’s attitudes and behavior toward mental illness is to increase public awareness and knowledge, and through more personal interaction with people who have a mental illness. The survey also indicated 74% of Texans agree that more education and information would make them feel more confident about discussing mental illness.
View the infographic based on this survey.
Negative stereotypes and unfair beliefs about mental illness can produce public shaming, prejudicial, and discriminatory behaviors toward individuals including avoidance and segregation, withholding help, and creating barriers to housing and work opportunities. When individuals with a mental illness internalize those dehumanizing behaviors, it can intensify their feelings of anxiety, fear, depression, and low self-worth. As a result, too many people with a treatable mental illness withdraw socially or conceal their condition until they are in crisis and emergency intervention is needed.
Yes! Did you know that 3 in 4 Texans has a friend or family member that has experienced a mental health issue? In addition, of Texas’ 254 counties, 207 have a shortage of mental healthcare providers and services. Ensuring Texans have access to quality mental healthcare concerns us all.
This is a good place to start. We’ve added information and links to resources throughout the site to help you understand the facts about mental illness conditions, treatment and recovery. In addition, there will be links to connect you with information on current issues, policies, and programs affecting Texas’ mental healthcare system at the state level and in our communities.

About Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute

The Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute is a leading policy and research organization that identifies mental health care solutions that work. The Institute partners with policy makers and communities to shape and implement data-driven programs to improve access to high quality, cost-effective mental health services for Texans with special focus on the needs of children, veterans, and smart justice. Please note: The Institute does not provide health services of any type—mental health, substance abuse or other services. Please dial 911 or your local Crisis Intervention Hotline if you or someone you know needs emergency help, or visit Public Mental Health Services for more information.
The Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute is the organization working with state and community leaders and mental healthcare providers to make Texas a national leader in mental health. Texas State of Mind is the initiative of our Institute that guides our work. The goals of the initiative are to connect Texas communities, individuals, families, providers and the system, so people who need help have easier and more urgent access to the resources and services they need. Part of the initiative is to eliminate discrimination and stereotypes that prevent people from getting the treatment they need by making it okay to talk openly about mental illness. That is the goal of the Okay to Say movement.
The best way is to contact your local representatives. If you don’t know who they are, you can find their contact information by using the search tools at senate.state.tx.us and house.state.tx.us.

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