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It's OK Not to Be OK: Destigmatizing Mental Health and Substance Use
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TitleIt's OK Not to Be OK
Original PostDec 12, 2019
Updated Airdate(s)May 21, 2021 at 8 p.m.

Every year, one in five Rhode Islanders is challenged by mental health or substance use. These issues do not discriminate against age, racial identity, or socioeconomic background, and as they warrant broader attention, many communities have been looking for open paths to a candid conversation. In December 2019, the state of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Broadcasters Association began a year-long campaign to break the silence and alleviate these unspoken burdens.

On December 14, 2019, in an unprecedented collaboration among local channels, all four Rhode Island television stations simultaneously aired It’s OK Not to Be OK, a powerful special that conveys a message of hope and healing.

Driven by compelling firsthand accounts, the program changes the narrative about mental health and substance use. It explores a wide range of perspectives and shares urgent, necessary stories of struggle, recovery, and acceptance. It also promotes a variety of resources available to the public, including BH Link, a 24-hour, 365-day walk-in mental health triage center in East Providence.

After the 30-minute special, Rhode Island PBS extended the conversation with an exclusive round-table discussion with the journalists who reached out to the laborers, first-responders, and young people featured in the program.

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Host Margie O’Brien (Capitol TV) is joined by Katie Davis (WJAR NBC 10), Walt Buteau (WPRI CBS 12), and Ellie Romano (WLNE ABC 6) for additional commentary on how each story impacted the reporters personally.

It’s OK Not to Be OK is more than just a spotlight piece. It’s a collaborative effort to raise awareness and end the stigma. For more information, visit

WSBE Rhode Island PBS transmits over the air in high definition on digital 36.1; Cox 08 / 1008HD, Verizon FiOS 08 / 508HD, and Full Channel 08; Comcast 819HD and Verizon FiOS 18 / 518HD in MA; DirecTV 36, Dish Network 36.