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What do You think? Saturday January 28, 2017

I just have to say that I love Moodscope! I love the sense of community and the warm and supportive atmosphere here. I'm a longtime user, and although I don't say much, I dearly value everyone's voice. Such great wisdom is shared here! I feel like I know some of you by your offerings, and I must say you are all a special lot. I have even envisioned what resplendent music we could make together... hint, hint I'm on drums :-). Now as brilliant as that sounds, I have never felt especially creative. I certainly never imagined myself writing a blog...

I certainly never imagined myself writing a blog until I needed some help.

Here's my background: I live in the United States, in the beautiful state of Colorado. My lovely city experienced, within a matter of hours, two really horrific crimes. My community was stunned, and many were in shock and grief. The Public Safety (Police) Chief realized we needed to unite while processing the events and held a public forum. Taking tragedy and using it for good inspired the Chief to make discussing mental health a priority.

As a result I am now working on an anti-stigma campaign. I will be meeting with the marketing company that has been hired to promote this campaign, and I want to give valuable input. That's where your help comes in...

One of the proposed tag lines for the anti-stigma campaign is "It's Okay".

I think for sufferers: "It's Okay" to tell your problems to friends and family.

And I think for supporters: "It's Okay" to just listen.

So, what would you say/show to someone who is suffering, to say that "It's Okay"? What about supporters? Is my interpretation too literal? I know you are a creative and resourceful group. How would you represent "It's Okay"?

I want to change the phrase "anti-stigma" to something more positive. What would you call the campaign that has a positive twist? What do You think?

I'd be so grateful for your thoughts.

Many thanks and much love

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Debbie Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 6:29am

There was a campaign in Ireland last year called cycle against suicide. They had the line it's okay not to be okay. You may want to contact them and get feedback.

Maria Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 12:51pm

I love that line! Thanks for the information!

Mary Wednesday Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 7:51am

Maria, that's fantastic - and what a wonderful example from your police and civic leaders to draw out good from such a terrible time. I agree that anti stigma is not a good title... it contains a negative. I remember something my postie said to me the other day. He said, "it's time to stop talking about the stigma around mental health and just start talking about mental health." So maybe your campaign could be about "let's start talking".
Something that was run over here a few years ago was a campaign called "one in four" based on the statistic that one in four people will have a mental health issues at some point in their lives (I am surprised it is as low as that, in fact). So maybe your campaign could be let's start talking about the one in four. The ad I loved ran "one in four have a mental health problem. More than one in four have a problem with that" over a picture of Stephen Fry (a man I credit with giving me the gift of my sanity; the guy's a saint as far as I'm concerned). Good luck with this Maria and please keep us posted. I'd really like to see more blogs from you regarding this.

Maria Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 1:20pm

Hi Mary! I really appreciate your response...and you! Talking about Mental Health is a priority in my city. We've held facilitated "Community Conversations" which were rich with insights and information from both our citizens and Mental Health care providers. Compiling all the data is quite the task but themes emerged and an "anti-stigma" campaign was second on the list of priorities. The top priorities generated action committees and creating an "anti-stigma campaign was one of the results. I love that we have a multi-pronged effort to highlight Mental Health.

Adrian Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 8:17am

Great challenge Maria. I agree with avoiding the negative and like it's OK. I ran a campaign called ' it's good to talk' for the telephone company here in UK about encouraging communication. Not the same at all I know but involved removing barriers. Happy to share learning but I would recommend research with target audience as it is easy to have un- intended consequences. Good luck.

Maria Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 1:39pm

Hi Adrian! I agree communication is essential, and I think talking is the first step towards understanding. My city has held many community conversations generating much data being used by the resulting action committees. One action committee is developing a condensed "conversation in a box" to enable anyone to start a conversation within their networks.

Orangeblossom Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 8:17am

How about co-operation for mental-wellbeing. Or does this sound too gimmicky? We all have mental health and work towards a mental wellbeing for the members of our cyber-community as well as for those who we know person-to-person.

Maria Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 1:47pm

Hi Orangeblossom! Ooh...I love it! I think mental-wellbeing is a great phrase. We could promote mental-wellbeing. I agree, and when people start talking we realize how common mental health issues are.

Mary Wednesday Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 8:18am

I've just reread your blog and realised you already have your campaign title, but you need a descriptive for the campaign. "Talking about it when it's not okay"? A bit clumsy maybe? For sufferers " more people understand than you think understand". For sufferers, it helps to talk about it." For the listeners "it helps when you listen." It may be useful to address the helplessness that listeners feel in that they cannot solve the mental health problem they need to know that just listening without condemnation really helps. And that acceptance is half the battle.

Maria Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 1:52pm

Hi Mary! We are combining forces with a larger anti-stigma campaign that already chose a title. I'm not crazy about "It's Okay" but I have to work with it.

Sarah Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 8:18am

Instead of anti-stigma how about "acknowledge and accept". These two actions happened to me recently. Having suffered all my life with different levels of anxiety and depression and currently feeling a dip due to menopause, my husband of 28 years suddenly seems to have said the right thing about my depression. I was bemoaning the usual I am useless /can't cope/stupid me and he simply said "well that's not right its because you have depression" ` acknowledgement -POW. I have long since accepted my condition and have recently started discussing it more with colleagues, bad days, how I believe I came to be anxious and depressed and their acceptance has been amazing to me. No-one has said pull yourself together, its all in the mind or get over it, which is the attitude I have experienced within my family and previous employments. So "acknowledge and accept".

And it's okay to have bad days.
It's okay to cry.
It's okay to say no.
It's okay to put yourself first.
It's okay to take medication.
It's okay to have therapy.
It's okay to take five when it all gets too much.
It's okay to love your pet more than you love people.
It's okay to get help.
It's okay to research your illness.
It's okay to try self help.
It's okay to try alternative therapies.
It's okay to seek out fellow sufferers.
It's okay to tell your employer....(not entirely sure this is the case for everyone)
It's okay to not be able to work.
It's okay to wear a "mask" - but try to take it off sometimes.
It's okay to say you are fine when you are not - when you don't want to explain.
It's okay to say why you are not okay.
It's okay to try to educate people about your condition.....but don't expect miracles.
It's okay to stay in bed sometimes.
It's okay to be happy when you can.
It's okay to laugh and laugh and laugh.
It's okay to do what works for you.
It's okay to treat yourself kindly.
It's okay to get comfort from religion.
It's okay to love and be loved.
It's okay to disassociate from toxic people.
It's okay to talk to your kids about depression.
It's okay to be alone if you want to be.

Hope this helps.

Jane Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 8:49am

Wow! This is a fantastic and powerful list Sarah

Sarah Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 10:07am

Thank you. Easy to write not always easy to practice!

Maria Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 2:11pm

Hi Sarah! I agree with Jane. Very powerful list that brought forth many emotions! Thank you so much! I like the idea to acknowledge and accept and it gladdens me to hear that you now do so. Your husband sounds loving and compassionate, lucky you! I have been married for 33 years and I'm forever grateful of that rock solid support. I also have had the same experiences when revealing that I have bipolar disorder to friends. In simple yet powerful terms they acknowledge and accept! Thank you!!!

Lexi Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 6:26pm

Brilliant Sarah. That list was awesome. Lexi

Molly Sun, Jan 29th 2017 @ 3:16am

Great, thanks Sarah xx

Jane Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 8:48am

This is great Maria. In London we have a 'time to talk' campaign. Maybe have something about being proud and accepting of who you are? Good luck

Maria Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 2:15pm

Hi Jane! That sounds wonderful! Taking time to talk is vital! Thank you!

Jul Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 8:54am

It's so great you have written a blog Maria. On such an interesting topic too from across the pond. The Colorado campaign sounds something really worthwhile to be involved in. Here are some suggestions."One step forward" "Here for you" "Your struggle stops here" It's Okay is quite calming I think so I would use that. Good luck and let us know how the campaign progresses. Julxx

Maria Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 2:33pm

Hi Jul! I love your ideas! Many thanks! I am so proud of the way my city has responded to tragedy. We are reaching out to everyone and want mental health education taught to all including children. Let's let this generation be the last to separate mental health from physical health.

Dominique Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 9:15am

Listen to me without prejudice....

Maria Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 2:51pm

Hi Dominique! Yes! I talk and you listen to me without prejudice... Thank you!!

DAVE Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 9:17am

Hi Maria,
Welcome to Moodcope...Anti-stigma,....Which means 'NO DISGRACE', may suit your need, I think "It's Okay".
Simple to the point...There is NO disgrace in our mental being.
We are all equal, we all have issues, even with Tina and Bobby (documentary on the 1966 World Cup captain's life) last night with Bobby Moores money, no one gets away from adversity Scot-free....It's how we 'DILUTE' or lessen its negative effect upon ourselves, you know.....the best possible POSITIVE outlook on daily life...with the MINIMUM amount of medication. "it's Okay", to THINK ! But it's NOT about thinking, it's about 'DOING'. That's Okay !
God bless you Maria

Maria Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 2:47pm

Hi Dave! Your clear comments are very informational and insightful. The literal interpretation of anti-stigma is very powerful yet I had not thought of it. Thank you! I am very excited that the various committees are now putting thoughts into action...that's quite okay! Many blessings!

Leah Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 9:56am

Thanks for your blog. I think campaigns need more than a slogan. A good slogan or catch phrase is important but if you want to reach people you need an organised program of activities and promotions to back it up.
The internet is a good place to start. I think the campaign needs to start with individuals and then build on local support and community groups. Let us know how it goes.

Maria Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 3:15pm

Hi Leah! You are so right! A catch phrase is to draw attention to the campaign...which must have substance. This campaign has been a while in the making. Our grand kick-off event was a powerful play about suicide followed by a panel discussion comprised of mental health experts and sufferers. This brought mental health into the spotlight and was followed up by many mental health community conversations. The public came together to talk and listen to one another while answering pointed questions. The information gathered from these conversations is at the core of our program, and the anti-stigma campaign is one of many actions in the works. It really is a grass roots effort where the public and mental health professionals are combining to address needs. All with City support.

Kate Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 11:30am

We are all human .... great campaign you are leading Maria!

Maria Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 3:18pm

Hi Kate! That breaks it down to the barest essence. Thank you!

Maria Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 3:26pm

What a wonderful brainstorming session!!! Thank you!! Moodscopers are a special part of my mental health first aid kit and I consider you friends. Wishing love and light to All!

Salt Water Mum Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 4:08pm

HI Maria

Thank you for your blog.

Debbie mentioned the Irish cycle against suicide campaign (there will be one in May this year as well) with the slogan 'It's ok not to be ok.'

There is a fabulous song by the Irish girl group HEATHERS called 'It's alright not to feel ok' - check out the lyrics and the music video, it's powerful and uplifting.

Jessie J (English) also has a moving song 'Who you Are' - within it are the lyrics 'it's okay not to be okay.. just be true to who you are...'

I think Music sometimes can resonate with people in distress more than words.

Best of luck with your campaign,


Maria Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 7:28pm

Hi Salt Water Mum! Thank you for introducing me to the HEATHERS and Jessie J! I was very moved by these songs and listened to both several times. I think most would agree that music soothes the certainly moves me! I think music affects us personally yet also unites us. Thank you again!

The Gardener Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 6:15pm

I love Sarah's list. Maria, great idea - it's 'awareness' I see as the problem. I think of the red poppy for Armistice day - and the ribbon for 'Aids Awareness' - a symbolic badge perhaps? I have suffered two 'stigmatizations'. Diagnosed as manic depressive, my insurance company ( I was a boss, and quite heavily insured for a woman) immediately wrote out cover for ANY psychiatric illness. Then Mr G, who had lived through, and born the brunt, of my depressions, 'used' them, voluntarily or not I don't know, to avoid any serious discussion when things went badly wrong 'she's depressed again'. He had the equivalent of a nervous breakdown when he was 47, I took over - if ONLY we could have got help then, or if he had accepted it, he might have learned to talk to others, which he has never been able to do. I am re-reading my 2010 diary - in the front of which is the AA 'Charter' and the prayer beginning 'Lord, make me an instrument of your peace'. The last item in the AA 'Charter' is (it's entitled 'Just for Today') 'Just for today I will be unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful, and to believe that as I give to the world, so the world will give to me'. The combination of the two would provide 'succour' (old-fashioned word) to those who are 'heavy laden'. I have just taken Mr G out to tea with friends, crossing the Sahara would be less hassle, but, I've DONE it.

Maria Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 8:00pm

Hi Gardener! You hit the nail on the head! We have to raise awareness and acceptance. As you can attest, the stigmatized are not accepted and suffer horrible injustices. Just recently an acquaintance of mine, who is looking for employment, was told by her psychiatrist to keep her mental health issues secret. What a sad state of affairs. We need to raise awareness and eliminate stigma! Thank you for the quotes. Words have strong power, and you have such command of the language as to paint vivid pictures for us. Thank you!

Robert Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 6:20pm

I salute your efforts. I've used a little mantra for some years now in adversity. It goes "S'OK, s'OK, s'OK" - repeated three times, with deep breaths in between if needed. It's almost expletive, but works fine for me. On the anti-stigma thing, can I suggest "Be a minder". Works both ways, I think. Best of luck - but hey, you've got a head start living in Colorado.

Maria Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 8:04pm

Hi Robert! Oh what a calming mantra! I also love to think that we can all "Be a minder". I am lucky to live in Colorado...and lucky to realize it! Thank you!

Lexi Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 6:55pm

Maria, this is wonderful. I live in Chicago and I would love to hear more about your campaign, so that I could see about starting one in our community. A friend committed suicide a few months back and I too found myself in the well again recently and at my darkest moment thought "who would I call? And why would I want to open up that can of worms?" Horrible thoughts, but even more horrible is not doing anything and losing another to suicide. There's no coming back from that.

Maria Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 9:56pm

Hi Lexi! I am so sorry about your friend. What a horrible and irreversible tragedy! How are you doing? Do you have an open and supportive environment to talk about what happened? I love that you want to start a campaign! Look for resources in your area and on the internet. NAMI has a wealth of materials. I really think talking about mental health promotes understanding, and "community conversations" are at the core of our campaign. These are facilitated conversations where participants share experiences and answer pointed questions. This information is analyzed and used to identify my community's priorities. The top two are providing crisis services and education. The education action team is developing: an anti-stigma campaign, "community conversations in a box" which will be a condensed and portable version of "community conversations", and mental health first aid training which is a class that teaches participants how to recognize when someone is in distress and appropriate reactions. I will share more as these are developed.

Lacey Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 11:31pm

Hi Maria
Writing from the UK and just loved your blog,it reads so well!
Well done you for putting pen to paper ?
How interesting to be involved with a project such as mental health. I have bipolar disorder and am also a long term user of Moodscope and,as yet,non blogger!
However my fingers are itching to write soon
I don't have name for your campaign because you already have it ....It's OK says it all and Sarah's list is very ok!
When I'm good I like to say'I'm ok,your ok,we are all ok and everything IS ok' because it isIts so simple and says it all
Wouldn't it be amazing to live in a world where we are all 'OK'?
Let's all work towards that vision
Love R ?

Molly Sun, Jan 29th 2017 @ 3:30am

Hi Lacey, I encourage you to write a blog, I did, and it felt really good. I'm wanting to do another. Your writing tells me you would do a good blog, go for it..xx

Lacey Sun, Jan 29th 2017 @ 1:13pm

Thank you so much for your thoughts ;-) Molly,like you I feel that maybe writing a blog will get my thoughts on paper. It's on my 'to do'list!!

Maria Sun, Jan 29th 2017 @ 2:34pm

Hi Lacey! I second Molly, please share your thoughts in a blog! I look forward to it. Thank you so much for your kind words! I worried that my words didn't flow smoothly enough before I submitted my blog. I could have edited it forever... I agree, it would be astonishing to have everyone be "OK". Oh to imagine such complete acceptance. Isn't it wonderful we belong to such an accepting and loving community here?? Sending love and light to you and all Moodscopers :)

Molly Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 1:44am

Love and light back to you Maria x

Lacey Sat, Jan 28th 2017 @ 11:32pm

Typo ? mark meant to be <3 ....ok?!!
Love R

Salt Water Mum Sun, Jan 29th 2017 @ 8:40am

I'm delighted you liked the songs, Maria. Music that resonates and soothes is very healing isn't it?
I had a feeling from your thoughtful blog that you would be a fan.

Maria Sun, Jan 29th 2017 @ 2:41pm

Yes, music is very powerful and healing, and it plays a big part in my life. Thank you again!

Becky Mon, Jan 30th 2017 @ 6:29pm

I think you're right about 'anti stigma' not being a great title. Negative messages tend to only tell us what NOT to do but not what to do instead. How about something like 'Acceptance' or 'Together'?

Maria Tue, Jan 31st 2017 @ 2:40pm

Hi Becky! Thanks for the suggestions. I love them!

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