Talking about mental health in Crow Wing County

Make It OK ambassador training is set Feb. 5 at Central Lakes College in Brainerd.

Photo illustration by Metro Newspaper Service.

Most of us have been impacted by mental illness in one way or another. In Crow Wing County, the Community Health Survey shows that more than 1 in 4 (28.2%) of adults are impacted, with depression and anxiety being more common than diabetes.

Many people don’t get the help they need. Mental illnesses are a treatable health condition. They are not something to “get over.” And silence makes it worse.

HealthPartners, Regions Hospital, the Minnesota chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and other partners created Make It OK to provide talking tips and awareness to inform and encourage people to support friends and family who are struggling, and to seek help for themselves when needed.

Starting the conversation helps. The Make It OK website,, provides talking tips and information to guide you.

What is a mental illness?

Make It OK provides this explanation:


A mental illness is:

  • A medical condition disrupting a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others, and daily functioning.

  • Common. One in four people will develop a mental illness in their lifetime.

  • Treatable. Most mental illnesses can be treated effectively with medication, therapy, diet,

exercise, and support. Recovery is possible.
A mental illness is not:

  • Imaginary. Mental illnesses are very real and very common.

  • Something to “get over.” Mental illnesses cannot be willed away.

  • A character flaw. Mental illnesses are medical conditions that do not define us.

An illness can be caused by:

  • Trauma. Sometimes traumatic events can play a role in triggering a mental illness.

  • Chemical imbalance. Chemical or biochemical changes in the brain can be factors.

  • Genetics. Some mental illnesses get passed along from one generation to the next.

  • Environment. Exposure to toxins, illnesses, drugs, or alcohol can affect the developing brain in utero.

Make It OK is a one hour presentation on reducing mental health stigma that can be delivered to your workplace or organization during a team meeting, over the lunch hour, or before or after work hours to accommodate your schedule. Crow Wing Energized’s Mental Fitness Goal Group has a team of volunteer presenters who will come to your workplace, church, organization, club, or any group.
To set up a presentation, contact: Kathy Sell 218-828-7565 or via email to

By talking about mental illnesses and what we can do to Make It OK we change hearts and minds about the misconceptions around mental illnesses.

Become a Make It OK presenter

Do you want to learn more about how to make it OK to talk about mental illness?

Do you want to help reduce the stigma of mental illness?

Join us for a Make It OK Ambassador Training


Crow Wing Energized is hosting a Make It OK training opportunity. This train-the-trainer session will prepare participants to deliver Make It OK training to the local community.

  • Training is free, but registration is required.

  • All are welcome. You don’t need to be a mental health expert to participate.

  • Attendees who decide to become a Make It OK Ambassador and present to community groups will be provided with the necessary tools and resources.

  • Training is intended for an 18 and older audience

What: Make It OK Presenter Training
When: Wednesday, Feb. 5 from 3- 5 p.m.

Location: Central Lakes College Brainerd Campus

To register:

Photo illustration by Metro Newspaper Service.

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