May is Mental Health Awareness Month and our SNAHC Native Youth Communications Team have led in creating the SNAHC “It’s Ok To Not Be Ok” campaign!
This campaign has touched city corners across Sacramento, with youth-designed ads going up at 12 convenience stores across the South Sacramento and Elk Grove areas. For an interactive map of all locations where the ad is posted, please click here.
Youth Communications Team Member Jordan Burkart did all photography for this campaign. Burkart said that she wished to display how mental health issues affect Native youth of all ages and backgrounds, and the importance of Native culture in how it relates to improving mental health.
“This campaign is especially important right now because the pandemic – and all the changes and seclusion that comes with it – is impacting youth on a totally different level,” said Burkart. She expressed that many milestones like graduations are happening in a different way, and it’s affecting youth as they are missing out on key events where they would usually socialize with family and friends.
Angelina Hinojosa, whose family participated in the campaign by being featured in generational photos, said that it’s important for youth going through mental health struggles to know that they’re not alone. “There’s a bigger message behind this campaign, that it’s okay to not feel okay, not just be okay,” said Hinojosa. “You’re not the only one going through these things, reach out and always have someone to talk to.”
Youth Communications Team Member Luna Valle agreed, reiterating: “I think it’s important to get the message across that it’s okay to show your emotions, it’s okay to cry,” said Valle.
Hinojosa said that it’s even more important in these times of isolation to be there for each other as the problem of negative self-stigma often becomes a problem. “Self-stigma becomes a problem because we tell ourselves there’s something wrong with us when we’re alone,” said Hinojosa, “and that becomes the first step into going into that more depressed state.” She said that understanding steps to self-help and reaching out for professional help is key.
The campaign will continue to be displayed at the previously mentioned locations for at least 12 weeks. The youth are currently working on other health campaigns about COVID-19 mitigation strategies and keeping tobaccos sacred.
Thank you, Native Youth Communications Team!