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Letter: Start making it OK to talk about mental illness

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to come together, fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for equal care.

Mental illness is a medical condition, but is often surrounded by stigma or stereotypes that prevent people from getting the help they need. One in five adults experiences a mental illness in any given year. Approximately half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by the age of 14.

Unfortunately, long delays — sometimes decades — often occur between the time symptoms first appear and when people get help.

Join "Make it OK" in shining a light on mental illness and replacing stigma with hope at our free, family-friendly dinner and showing of "Inside Out." The 2015 Pixar/Disney film is set in the mind of a young girl, where five personified emotions try to lead her through life as her parents move from Minnesota to San Francisco, and she has to adjust to her new surroundings.

The movie will be followed by resource tables surrounding mental health and mental illnesses to help us start the conversation to "Make it Ok!"

For more information, go to Make It OK also offers resources as a guide to teach, share, learn and speak about mental illnesses and stigma.

Please join us May 23 at the Sheldon Theater to come together to Make It OK. Doors open and a free dinner is served at 5:30 p.m., followed by a brief introduction at 6:15 p.m. and movie showing at 6:30 p.m.

Goodhue County Make it OK Advisory Committee

Jessica Seide

of Goodhue County Health and Human Services

Pam Horlitz

of Mayo Clinic Health System

Tristan English

of Christ Episcopal Church

Mandy Arden

of Red Wing Youth Outreach

Ruth Greenslade

of Goodhue County Health and Human Services

Mike Melstad

of Red Wing Area YMCA

Cindy Craig

of Goodhue County Health and Human Services

Carrie Heimer

of Red Wing Shoe Co.

Anita Otterness

of NAMI SE MN affiliate

Beth Breeden

of National MS Society Ambassador

Maureen Nelson

of United Way of Goodhue, Wabasha & Pierce Counties

Dawn Wettern

of Community Education & Recreation

Angela Langer

Michaela Read

Make it Ok Volunteer coordinator