Beyond Well: Radical Inclusion and the Mental Health Matters Movement

Hello Keep Oregon Well Community!

Since developing and launching the Keep Oregon Well: Mental Health Matters advocacy platform back in 2014, I have had the great pleasure of watching this big dream for the world transform into a bonafide social movement, thanks to all of you.

The Mental Health Matters network reaches over 1.5 million Oregonians every week through media, partnerships, supporters and spokespeople. Now in our 4th year, Keep Oregon Well continues to grow and expand the movement’s reach, engaging new voices, schools, partners and communities each step of the way.

As a survivor of early childhood sexual abuse myself, I have struggled with persistent suicidal ideation for as long as I can remember. There are still days where I do not want to live…but over the years I have found healing in my life. I see a future for myself now, and I am able to stay connected to that future, even during the inevitable hopeless times. This healing has come by way of massive waves of compassion from others, professional opportunities which have allowed me to cultivate personal safety and a feeling of self-worth, and a team of people who a decade ago convinced me to interact with and, ultimately, speak this big, scary truth about my experience in the world. That truth — hard as it may seem — has been an agent of change in my life since the moment I first allowed myself to really look at it.

The mission of Keep Oregon Well isn’t just close to my heart. It is every piece of my heart. I would not be here today if a handful of people had not given me the space to grow and accepted me as a human being who mattered, even in the scary, homeless, drug addicted state I was in for so many years. I believe everyone deserves to have those same opportunities for healing; to connect to their own magic; to see a future for themselves. This is the spirit in which Keep Oregon Well was formed and continues to unfold.

The Mental Health Matters movement belongs to every single person who wants to join. I am just one of the proud stewards. We take a collective impact approach to everything we do, centering this work around community and meeting people where they are at. Keep Oregon Well strives to act within community, not upon community, and when we say there is room at our table for ALL people, we are not virtue signaling. We actually mean ALL PEOPLE, wherever you are at on your healing journey, however far along you are in acknowledging your own part in oppression, whatever your identity or belief system; I want to talk to you. I want to know why you feel the way you feel and have a conversation as human beings about why you feel that way. Social issues such as homophobia, racism, or transphobic violence are not created in isolation. Their solutions won’t be found in isolation, either.

There will be times when you might think, “Why is this guy partnering with this person on a mental health campaign?” or “Why is Keep Oregon Well engaging a community that has hurt me?” and I want to acknowledge and validate your feelings. Those experiences are real. And for me, my activism has always looked unusual. There have been many times over the years when my own friends, family and community have asked those very questions, as well. My answer is that this journey of radical inclusion is messy and hard, it doesn’t always feel good, and I am deeply committed to it. I have watched this strategy work in my own life, community, and relationships, so much so that I made a movie about it. When someone wants to hurt or dehumanize me for my identity, it is more likely that I will ask them to lunch so we can get to know each other than organize a boycott. In my life, hateful rhetoric has always sounded like an invitation for education.

You might disagree with this methodology and that’s ok! There is plenty of room for you and your protest of my community engagement philosophy at this table, too. Just know that, behind the scenes, we are having hard conversations with community leaders, public figures, celebrities and media personalities about topics ranging from problematic language and perpetuating cultural violence, to connecting their audiences to resources; we are providing trauma training to social service workers across the state; we are engaging church systems and schools who are working to become affirming of LGBTQ communities, helping to build new narratives between communities that are polarized and facilitate relationship; we are working with legislators on the local, regional and national stage to affect change for people living with mental health conditions and end discrimination; and we will not stop.

My experience is that hearts and minds change slowly and through relationship. This takes time, and there will be moments where people are not learning what we so desperately need them to learn fast enough — but this is not the “Keep Oregon Perfect” campaign. I am far from perfect. Our spokespeople and supporters are far from perfect. The hundreds of bands, artists, comedians, authors and celebrities we have interviewed aren’t perfect (and neither are their audiences).

Here’s what: You do not have to be perfect, either. In fact, perfect does not exist.

Come as you are. Be yourself. Be messy. Learn out loud. Cry. Laugh. Dance. Tell the wrong joke. Be offended. Say the wrong thing. Fumble. Do you. Your truth has a home with us. Your struggle has a friend. You don’t get kicked out of this movement for messing up. We wrap our arms around you tighter and ask “What has happened to you?”. At the end of the day, we are all in this thing together. I, for one, am just so happy every one of you is here — and that I am still here.

You are the change I see in the world. Every single day. It’s happening.

Logan Lynn
Keep Oregon Well Co-Founder
Chief Impact Officer, Trillium Group

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Category: Arts & Culture, Behavioral Health, Celebrities, charity, Civil Rights, Community, Community Work, Health & Wellness, Healthcare, Keep Oregon Well, life, Logan Lynn, Mental Health, News, Non-Profit Work, Official Statements, Oregon, Portland, Trillium, Uncategorized

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