If It's Okay

The If It’s Okay campaign aims to tackle the negative impact that shame has on those of us with mental illness.

What is the If It’s Okay campaign?

The impact of feeling shame means many people hide a mental illness, even from those closest to them. This can stop people from getting the help and support they need, make people feel alone and lead those living with a mental illness to withdraw from opportunities others may take for granted.

To change this members of the anti-stigma alliance have created If It’s Okay, a campaign running across Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England.

"It’s okay to not be okay" is one of the most famous lines in mental health campaigning. But for many people struggling with mental illness, it doesn’t feel like it is okay.

Polling carried out across the UK found that more than half of people still think there is shame associated with mental illness.

People who experience more complex, long-term mental illness can find that when they want to tell someone what they are experiencing, they are judged, dismissed, isolated and discriminated against. Rather than feeling like "it’s okay to not be okay", they are made to feel shame.

So, with this campaign, we want to give a voice to those of us who don’t feel that it’s okay to speak about what we are going through, by looking at the impact stigma and shame still have.

People from all over the UK have written about when they have felt like it hasn’t been okay to not be okay, and we are sharing these on posters on over 150 sites across the UK, as well as on social media.

You have a role in changing this, maybe someone close to you is struggling and feeling shame, it’s time for us all to play a part.

If it’s okay to not be okay, why are people still being discriminated against?

What can you do?

If you think someone you know is feeling shame

  • We can check our own attitudes and behaviour to see if we could be causing someone to feel shame. Think about how you have responded when someone has told you they are struggling and the impact your reaction could have had.
  • Start a conversation with someone if you’re worried about them. If someone is feeling shame, then starting a conversation can be one of the hardest things to do. So why not reach out and make it easier? Get tips here on how to start a conversation.
  • Perhaps you felt shame before, and can help someone by relating to what they are going through. Start a conversation, listen, and if you think it will help, let them know about a time when you’ve felt shame for not being okay, so they feel less alone.
  • Find out more about how you can help to tackle stigma and discrimination.

If you are or feeling shame

  • Start a conversation with someone about how you are feeling. Find someone you can trust, and you know will listen, and speak to them about how you feel. Get tips here on how to speak about how you're feeling.
  • Self-compassion is key for people to be able to not feel shame. There are a few ways we can show self-compassion, and it starts with knowing that you deserve help, support and care. Make time for you, and do something which can help, whether that is time with friends or family, a walk, relaxing in a bath, a massage, whatever it may be, give yourself that time and know you deserve it. There are also specific things that have been found to help self-compassion, including Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Compassionate Mind Training.
  • Get support for your mental health 

Help promote the campaign and tackle shame for everyone

  • Share your own ‘if it’s okay…’ on social media using #IfIt'sOkay
  • Share If It’s Okay assets on social media to show support using #IfIt'sOkay. You can download these below.
  • Watch out for the language others use and how mental illnesses are portrayed around us. Let’s speak up.
  • Take a pic of one of our adverts and say what you do to tackle shame 
  • Tell us how you stop people feeling shame
  • Tell us how you show self compassion

"Shame can prevent you from asking for help in the first place, it can delay the process of recovery, and it is the main catalyst to stigma, especially self stigma and discrimination"


Social Assets to Download