OK2TALK - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

OK2TALK

Teens and young adults who suffer from mental illness can feel hopeless and alone. Many don't know what's wrong with them but feel like it's their fault. Those who understand what is happening fear they can't be helped. Because of the stigma attached to mental illness, it's often hard for those suffering and their families and friends to talk about what they're going through. But help is available, and it works. Visit http://ok2talk.org

The goal of OK2TALK is to create a community for teens and young adults struggling with mental health problems and encourage them to talk about what they're experiencing by sharing their personal stories of recovery, tragedy, struggle or hope. Anyone can add their voice by sharing creative content such as poetry, inspirational quotes, photos, videos, song lyrics and messages of support in a safe, moderated space. We hope this is the first step towards getting help and feeling better.

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is committed to using the power of its broadcast megaphone to educate Americans on mental health—a critical issue that impacts all of us. Broadcasters have a powerful voice in this country that they use to inform, entertain and educate. NAB's local television and radio stations, broadcast networks and entertainment industry partners have joined together to get the word out by supporting OK2TALK. The campaign includes TV and radio PSAs that will run nationwide to open the door for more in-depth conversations about mental health in schools, the workplace, families and among friends.

NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith's own family has been profoundly affected by mental illness. His 22-year-old son, Garrett, took his own life in 2003, after a long struggle with depression. A former senator from Oregon, Gordon and his wife, Sharon, hope that encouraging conversation about mental illness helps other families from meeting the same fate. They believe that had they known the signs, and sought help and treatment for Garrett earlier, their son would still be alive today. A year after Garrett's death, President George W. Bush signed the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act, authorizing $82 million in grants to help prevent suicide by young people. Among the programs the funds were earmarked for: mental health screenings in schools. Gordon and Sharon hope that by sharing Garrett's story they can help bring this issue out of the shadows and into the light through open and honest conversation.

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