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Hospital patients, staff march to highlight mental, physical wellness

May 06, 2014

A group of patients and staff from at the Minnesota Security Hospital recently wrapped up a “March to Washington” fitness challenge in support of the “Make It Ok” campaign to reduce the stigma of mental illness.

Twenty-three patients and seven staff kept track of how much they exercised and converted minutes into miles.  Combined, they “walked” over 23,000 miles. Seventeen patients exercised enough to have “walked” over 1,000 each – about the distance to Washington D.C.

“This was a great effort by our staff to encourage clients – and each other – to live a healthier lifestyle,” said Carol Olson, who oversees the Minnesota Security Hospital. “And the patients thought it was pretty special that they could be a part of educating people about the stigma of mental illness.”

 “Make It Ok” is a campaign to reduce the misperceptions of mental illness by encouraging open conversation and education. Organization such as NAMI Minnesota, HealthPartners, People Incorporated, Twin Cities Public Television and others have joined the effort to “Make It Ok.”

According to the campaign’s website, more than 4,300 people have taken “Make It Ok” pledge:

  • I will talk openly about the subject of mental illness.
  • I will treat those experiencing a mental illness with respect and dignity.
  • I will avoid name-calling and using words that describe mental illness in a hurtful way.
  • I will recognize that a person’s mental illness is just part of who they are; it does not define them.
  • I will encourage others to speak up, speak out and just plain speak.

As part of the “March to Washington,” Minnesota Security Hospital patients and staff signed a petition and banner with the “Make It Ok” pledge that was sent to the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Washington, D.C.

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