Make It OK to talk about mental illness in May

Posted on Thursday, May 13, 2021

Mental Health Awareness Month resources and events

DES MOINES, IOWA (April 19, 2021) – The Make It OK campaign in Iowa, led by the Healthiest State Initiative, has released resources for employers and announced events to raise awareness of mental health and take steps to end the stigma during Mental Health Awareness Month in May.

Make It OK is a community to reduce stigma by starting conversations and increasing understanding about mental illness. Mental Health Awareness Month, observed annually in May since 1949, is a globally-recognized mental health awareness event first started by Mental Health America.

“If Iowa workplaces aren’t already putting an emphasis on mental health within their organizations, May is a great time to start or re-commit to starting the conversation,” said Jami Haberl, executive director of the Healthiest State Initiative. “After the year we’ve collectively been through, workplaces would benefit from creating a culture that is more open and supportive of mental health.”

Year-round, Iowa employers are also invited to sign up as a Make It OK Registered Workplace and receive access to a comprehensive Make It OK: Employer Toolkit to support their efforts to de-stigmatize mental illness within their organizations. Globally, workplaces lose an estimated $1 trillion each year due to employees dealing with mental illness impacting their productivity.

“After spending the last year coping with the physical and emotional effects of COVID-19, most of us aren’t feeling completely like ourselves. Increased irritability, loneliness, sadness, worry, and trouble sleeping all are normal side effects of life under lockdown,” said Rae Shanahan, Chief Strategy Officer at Businessolver. Businessolver is the Make It OK – Mental Health Awareness Month Presenting Sponsor. “However, struggling with mental health is much different from the average pandemic peeves. And we at Businessolver are proud to partner with Make It OK to do all we can to help raise awareness and reduce stigma—so that people know what to watch for and feel comfortable reaching out to get help for themselves or someone they care about.”

Make It OK in Iowa is sponsored by Delta Dental, HealthPartners UnityPoint Health, Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, Businessolver, MidAmerican Energy, Clive Behavioral Health and Kum & Go. 

To learn more about Make It OK, access the 2021 Mental Health Awareness Month or sign-up as a Make It OK Registered Workplace, visit


May 3 – Make It OK Ambassador Training (Virtual)

6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Cost is free, but pre-registration required.


May 6 – Make It OK Ambassador Training (Virtual)

1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Cost is free, but pre-registration required.


May 14 – Make It OK Presentation on Facebook, sponsored by Clive Behavioral Health

Tune in at Noon:

May 17 – Make It OK Presentation on Facebook, sponsored by Clive Behavioral Health

Tune in at 5 p.m.:

May 20 – Wear Green for Make It OK

Show your support for Mental Health Awareness Month by wearing your favorite green shirt, pants or other apparel! Share a photo with #MakeItOK on social media to let your network know that you support Make It OK and ending the stigma.

May 24 – Make It OK Ambassador Training (Virtual)

9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Cost is free, but pre-registration required.



COMING IN MAY! Make It OK Stories: The Podcast, brought to you by the Healthiest State Initiative. In each episode of this special series, you’ll get to hear from brave Iowans who live with a mental illness plus insight on common conditions from mental health experts. The podcast will be available on, SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.


The Healthiest State Initiative is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization driven by the goal to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation. By engaging worksites, communities, schools, retail food, organizations, institutions and individuals, we can inspire Iowans and their communities to improve their health and happiness, and ultimately achieve our goal. For more information, visit