KeepHealthCare.ORG – Sabres’ Okposo lends support to mental health campaign – The Buffalo News
Buffalo Sabres forward Kyle Okposo has a message for those who are struggling with mental illness or thoughts of suicide.
The Sabres assistant captain has added his voice to the JustTellOne.org project, started 16 months ago by mental health and substance abuse prevention leaders across Western New York to let those struggling with mental illness know they’re not alone.
Subjects like depression and suicide “can be a difficult conversation to have but it’s a very important dialogue that our society needs to get more comfortable with,” Okposo says in a video released Wednesday afternoon.
He encouraged those in the midst of such struggle to avoid the inclination to lock up those feelings.
“If you feel comfortable with somebody, talk with them,” he said.
JustTellOne.org is a peer-to-peer public awareness campaign focused on teens and young adults designed to promote prevention and early intervention of mental health and substance abuse.
As many as one in five young people in the U.S. struggle with depression, which can worsen if left untreated.
“We are delighted to have Kyle join our team and our family of spokespeople,” said Carol A. Doggett, campaign director, and senior director of marketing communications and outreach at the Mental Health Association of Erie County. “His profile as an athlete and team leader will help deliver the message to young people that it is OK to speak up about what you are feeling to someone you trust.”
JustTellOne.org features videos of teens who have emerged from the depths of mental illness. It also includes live chats, information about helpful resources, and a “Tools and Inspiration” page where users, including family members, can access videos and tool kits to help start important conversations.
Okposo approached leaders of JustTellOne.org late last year to say he wanted to become part of the campaign, particularly around the topics of depression and suicide.
The campaign generated more than 1.5 million video views across social media in its first 14 months. Sections viewed most often cover depression and suicide.
Funding for the campaign has been provided by Community Partners of WNY and Millennium Collaborative Care, performing provider systems funded by state as part of the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program. The Mental Health Association of Erie County and Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse lead the campaign, with help from community organizations across the region.
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