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New ads target mental illness in African American, Hispanic community and senior communities

October 15, 2015

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — A new series of advertising in the Make It OK campaign is raising awareness and helping to end the stigma surrounding mental illnesses in the African American, Hispanic and senior communities. The ads in Spanish are running on Hispanic radio stations La Raza (KMNV-AM) and Radio Rey (WREY-AM), in Metro Transit bus shelters and in Vida y Sabor, a weekly Hispanic publication. In addition, the website includes a page in Spanish called with suggestions on what to say to someone who has shared that they have a mental illness. Ads featuring African Americans are in Mpls/St. Paul Magazine, Minnesota Monthly magazine and the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. An ad featuring two active seniors is running in Minnesota Good Age and in downtown skyway posters. The ads are scheduled to run into early November.

Breaking down barriers to treatment

"Mental illnesses affect people of all races, ethnicities and ages, but attitudes can be a roadblock to seeking treatment and we hope this campaign will lead to more people getting help," said Donna Zimmerman, HealthPartners Senior Vice President of government and community relations. In a national survey by Mental Health America, more than six in ten African Americans said they believe depression is a personal weakness rather than a health issue compared to 54 percent in the overall general survey average. Caucasian people in the U.S. receive mental health treatment two times more often than Hispanics according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Make It OK campaign was first launched in the spring of 2013 by HealthPartners, Regions Hospital Foundation, the Minnesota chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI-MN) and Twin Cities Public Television (TPT). The first round of advertising featured general messages about ending the silence around mental illnesses and encouraging open discussion.

Award winning campaign

Make It OK ads have been viewed more than 250 million times and the new ads are projected to achieve more than 40 million more impressions. More than 30,000 people have visited which includes videos with personal stories of people living with a mental illness, information and tips on how to talk about mental illnesses. The campaign encourages people to take a pledge on the web site to help Make It OK and nearly 8,000 people have done so. This year, the Make It OK campaign launched an interactive learning tool called Make It OK Interactive. In addition, 1,400 people have been trained to become Make It OK ambassadors who can help organizations implement campaigns within their company or group.

In 2014, five documentaries that aired on TPT won a Board of Governors Emmy® Award for Make It OK. The documentaries can be viewed online at In addition, the campaign received the 2015 Stigma Elimination and Education award from the Minnesota Association of Community Mental Health Programs.

About HealthPartners

Founded in 1957, the HealthPartners family of health care companies serves more than one million medical and dental health plan members nationwide. It is the largest consumer-governed, nonprofit health care organization in the nation, providing care, coverage, research and education to improve the health of members, patients and the community.

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