Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Gordon Smith's Mental Illness Awareness Campaign

Pol Light Moment #61 ocurred on January 23, 2013, when Gordon Smith helped launch the OK2TALK campaign to help prevent suicide among young adults and teenagers who have a mental illness. Gordon Smith represented Oregon as a United States Senator from 1997-2009.

Gordon Smith is currently the CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters. He had a key role in their efforts to start a public service ad campaign called OK2TALK, that was released nationwide on January 23, 2013, in both English and Spanish. "OK2TALK, features the stories of young adults struggling with mental illness (Source).

Here is a video of Gordon Smith explaining his passion for fighting mental illness.

Garrett Smith (Gordon Smith's son) had a mental illness and committed suicide on September 8, 2003, as a 21 year old college student. Gordon Smith said, "History is a hard teacher. I suspect we were like many typical American parents who viewed issues of the mind only in the abstract. If only then we had known what we know now, our son would still be living (Source)."

Gordon Smith has previously done several other things to raise awareness of mental illness following the death of his son. He wrote the book Remembering Garrett, One Family's Battle with a Child's Depression. In addition, the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act was signed by President George W. Bush in 2004. This bill provided $82 million for suicide-prevention and awareness programs at colleges (Source).

Pol Light does not endorse political candidates. We present a brighter side to politics when they are found on either side of the aisle. We don't have to agree with all of a person's politics to recognize these bright moments.

The photo of Gordon Smith is in the Public Domain.

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