Public awareness campaign welcomes Kyle Okposo as a campaign advocate

addressing depression and suicide prevention

BUFFALO, N.Y., February 14, – a peer-to-peer public awareness campaign focusing on the prevention and early intervention of mental health and substance abuse issues affecting youth and young adults in Western New York – today announced Buffalo Sabres Alternate Captain Kyle Okposo has become a campaign advocate addressing the issues of depression and suicide prevention.

Depression is a common mental health condition that affects between 10-20 percent of teens and young adults in the United States. Left untreated, depression can worsen and lead to problems that are more serious. launched in November 2016 with a singular, clear and concise call to action – to tell one trusted person how you are feeling.

Okposo approached late last year expressing interest in supporting the campaign, especially around the topics of depression and suicide.

“We are delighted to have Kyle join our team and our family of spokespeople,” said Carol A. Doggett, campaign director, and senior director of marketing communications and outreach at the Mental Health Association of Erie County. “His profile as an athlete and team leader will help deliver the message to young people that it is OK to speak up about what you are feeling to someone you trust.”

Studies show people who are depressed often feel isolated and alone. It can seem like no one understands or cares how they are feeling. The message of is that you are never alone and there is always hope.

“When you are ‘the one’ person a young person talks to about a personal struggle, it means you are an important part of his or her journey,” said Okposo. “It can make all the difference in the world.” gives those who are seeking help and those who are giving help the tools to start that important first conversation and find professional resources throughout the eight counties of Western New York. The campaign’s website features a 24/7 live chat and an updated search engine to help locate area resources.  From its “Tools and Inspiration” page, users can easily access videos and toolkit downloads (translated into seven languages); and expanded video content that now includes personal video messages by Okposo.

The videos speak about the importance of telling a trusted person about your feelings when dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts, asking for help and addressing the need as a community to reduce the stigma that still surrounds mental illness. In addition to the videos, Okposo will participate in community events as his schedule permits.

Since November 1, 2016 – December 31, 2017, the campaign has generated over 1.54 million video views across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube; has seen 24.5 million Facebook impressions with 48,404 engaged users, and has had 43,888 website pages viewed with depression and suicide the most visited sections.

The campaign materials are tailored to teens and young adults ages 14 – 26 within the Medicaid population of WNY living in urban and rural communities, who are often from single-parent or non-traditional families, with cultural or language barriers, limited health literacy, and limited or non-existent access to primary care providers.  Secondary audiences include adult influencers such as parents, family members, church and community leaders, and coaches and teachers.

The campaign is funded through Community Partners of WNY and Millennium Collaborative Care (MCC), two Performing Provider Systems funded by New York State as part of the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program. Mental Health Association of Erie County, Inc. (MHA), in association with the Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (ECCPASA), leads this program, with the support from community organizations in all eight Western New York counties.

About the Mental Health Association of Erie County, Inc. (MHA)

The Mental Health Association of Erie County, Inc. promotes mental health and wellness in our community and supports individuals and families who are challenged by mental illness. Since 1962, the MHA has provided education, public information, prevention programs, training, advocacy and supportive services to seniors, adults, families and children in WNY. For more information visit

About Kyle Okposo
Kyle Okposo is a forward for the Buffalo Sabres and an 11-year veteran of the National Hockey League. During his time as a professional hockey player, he’s amassed more than 400 points, appeared in an NHL All-Star Game and represented the United States in five major international tournaments. His leadership on and off the ice led to him being elected to serve as one of Buffalo’s alternate captains each of his two seasons with the Sabres. During his two years with the Sabres, Kyle and his wife, Danielle, have become active members of the Buffalo community and have supported a variety of causes throughout the area.

BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres’ Kyle Okposo lends support to mental health campaign



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