Weekly Feature

2018-03-07 / Business

Buffalo Sabres' Kyle Okposo teams up with JustTellOne.org campaign

JustTellOne.org, a peer-to-peer public awareness campaign focusing on the prevention and early intervention of mental health and substance abuse issues affecting youth and young adults in Western New York, has announced that Buffalo Sabre Kyle Okposo has become a campaign advocate addressing the issues of depression and suicide prevention.

Depression is a common mental health condition that affects between 10 percent and 20 percent of teens and young adults in the U.S. Left untreated, depression can worsen and lead to problems that are more serious. Just- TellOne.org launched in November 2016 with a singular call to action: for the depressed individual to just tell one trusted person how he or she is feeling.

Okposo approached Just- TellOne.org late last year expressing interest in supporting the campaign, especially around the topics of depression and suicide.

“We are delighted to have Kyle join our team and our family of spokespeople,” said Carol A. Doggett, campaign director and senior director of marketing communications and outreach at the Mental Health Association of Erie County. “His profile as an athlete and team leader will help deliver the message to young people that it is OK to speak up about what you are feeling to someone you trust.”

Studies show people who are depressed often feel isolated and alone. It can seem like no one understands or cares how they are feeling. The message of JustTellOne.org is that people are never alone and there is always hope.

“When you are ‘the one’ person a young person talks to about a personal struggle, it means you are an important part of his or her journey,” said Okposo. “It can make all the difference in the world.”

JustTellOne.org gives those who are seeking help and those who are giving help the tools to start that first conversation and find professional resources throughout the eight counties of Western New York.

The campaign’s website features a 24/7 live chat and an updated search engine to help locate area resources. From its “Tools and Inspiration” page, users can access videos and toolkit downloads and expanded video content that now includes personal video messages by Okposo.

The videos speak about the importance of telling a trusted person about one’s feelings when dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts, asking for help and addressing the need as a community to reduce the stigma that still surrounds mental illness.

In addition to the videos, Okposo will participate in JustTellOne.org community events as his schedule permits.

Since November, the campaign has generated more than 1.54 million video views across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, and has had 43,888 website pages viewed, with depression and suicide the most visited sections.

The Just- TellOne.org campaign materials are tailored to teens and young adults ages 14 to 26 within the Medicaid population of WNY living in urban and rural communities, who are often from single-parent or nontraditional families, with cultural or language barriers, limited health literacy, and limited or nonexistent access to primary care providers. Secondary audiences include adult influencers such as parents, family members, church and community leaders, and coaches and teachers.

The campaign is funded through Community Partners of WNY and Millennium Collaborative Care, two Performing Provider Systems funded by the state as part of the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment program.

Mental Health Association of Erie County Inc., in association with the Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse, leads this program, with the support from community organizations in all eight Western New York counties.

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