Crow Wing County employees are taking part in the Make It OK Campaign to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Month in May.

Make It OK is an anti-stigma campaign created to encourage people to talk more openly about mental illness. By breaking the silence, county employees can help friends, family, colleagues and the residents they serve feel understood and supported, a news release stated.

"Just as learning about physical health or financial health has helped us create stronger families and a more caring environment, we believe that combating mental health stigma will help us make Crow Wing County a more supportive and accepting organization which can create a positive impact on our community at large," Community Services Director Kara Terry stated in the release.

In the county, 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 5 children experience a mental illness each year. But because of the stigma, most people live with their symptoms for 10 years before seeking treatment, the release stated.

During the monthlong Make It OK campaign, county employees will learn facts about mental illnesses, myths, misunderstandings and misconceptions. Staff can take a pledge to learn more, start talking and encourage others to do the same.

Four presentations will also be offered in May to provide employees tools to stop the silence, stop the stigma and Make It OK.

The Make It OK campaign is made possible by HealthPartners. For more information, check out http://makeitok.org.