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Mayor Cornett, OC students highlight the importance of mental health

OKC Mayor Mick Cornett will speak to OC students about the importance of mental health on March 8.
OKC Mayor Mick Cornett will speak to OC students about the importance of mental health on March 8.

Mayor Cornett will join students’ Not OK is OK campaign to emphasize the five signs of emotional suffering 

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, 73 percent of college students have experienced one mental health crisis while on campus. Given that reality, and in light of the work he has done to highlight physical health, Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett will speak to college students about the importance of mental health on March 8.

A group of students at Oklahoma Christian University wants to make mental health as important as physical health. They reached out to Mayor Cornett because of his credibility and dedication to improving Oklahoma City’s health. He will speak at OC’s daily chapel on behalf of the students’ Not OK is OK campaign, which addresses the five signs of emotional suffering: personality change, agitation, withdrawal, poor self-care and hopelessness.

As Fitness Magazine’s 2010 Champion of Health and Fitness and Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s Champion of Oklahoma Health, Mayor Cornett has made great strides to make Oklahoma City healthier. In his recent State of the City address, he challenged Oklahomans to take mental health more seriously.

"Mental illness is not being adequately addressed," said Mayor Cornett. “And that is a nightmare."

The OC group is working with the national Campaign to Change Direction to change the culture of mental health in communities across the nation. The Change Direction initiative is a collection of concerned citizens, nonprofit organizations and private sector leaders who have come together to make mental health as important as physical health.

“We are thankful that Mayor Cornett will speak on this important topic and encourage students to know the five signs,” said OC student Kaitlin Allen, director of the Eagle PR team leading the campaign on campus. “We want to help people be more aware of emotional suffering in their own lives or the lives of others. We also want to connect people with resources for help.”

The students are encouraging members of the community to take the pledge to learn the five signs. Through a core message that it is OK to not be OK, OC students are partnering with various on-campus organizations, including the Eagles Health Initiative club and U!Shine, an organization dedicated to building resilient minds on college campuses to improve mental health. Activities include pledge drives, presentations on the five signs to diverse groups in the community, events to celebrate encouragement and positivity and high profile guest speakers advocating to change the culture of mental health. For more information, visit www.notokisok.org and www.changedirection.org.