LDWW developed and implemented Okay to Say, a public-awareness campaign, with a primary goal to simply start the conversation about mental health. Once the conversation was started, it then would become easier to build common ground with affected stakeholder groups and create a starting point to gradually change opinions and erode outdated notions about the issue. For instance, people find it easier to talk about cancer than to talk about depression or anxiety. The agency proposed a fact-based public education and awareness program designed to encourage conversations about mental health issues. The statewide program would be supported by judgment-free, online and in-person public forums where Texans were encouraged to engage and share information, resources, and stories.

The agency created the name and brand Okay to Say. The DNA of the campaign is grounded in the history in which great progress has been made in reversing negative perceptions surrounding physical illnesses like breast cancer. It was important to make the connection that mental health conditions are just as important as physical illnesses. This straightforward statement of “It’s Okay to Say I have depression” was a simple and effective way to get people of all ages and ethnicities to start a conversation about this difficult topic.

 

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