Carter County behavioral health professionals are kicking off a new campaign aimed at improving community well-being with a community training event Friday. 

Dr. Doug Walker, the creator of the campaign, will provide an interactive training session entitled ‘Let’s Get Real: It’s OK to Not Be OK,’ from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Lone Grove High School’s Gary Scott Center. Anyone can attend the event, which is free of charge, and lunch will be provided. 

The ‘How’s Your 5?’ campaign is designed to open up conversations between, family, friends and co-workers concerning work, love, play, sleep and eat, with a deeper dialogue than most are used to, said Ardmore Behavioral Health Collaborative Director Ashley Godwin. 

Godwin said Walker created the campaign to help communities come together through this shared language after an EF5 rated tornado struck the town of Joplin, Mo. in 2011. 

By building awareness and encouraging conversations, the campaign allows individuals to ‘check-in’ with each other in areas that support healthy living, mental wellness and resiliency, Godwin said. 

“‘How’s Your 5?’ is really about breaking down walls and barriers and stigmas for people needing help— making it okay to say, this person actually cares about me more than just ‘How are you?’,” Godwin said. 

In addition to Walker’s training, James Wallace, a mental health professional from Ft. Worth, Texas, and Lorenzo Lewis of Little Rock, Ark., who was born in prison and founded The Confession Project, will be speaking at the event. 

Both Wallace and Lewis have struggled with their own mental health issues and found a way to overcome their diagnoses, Godwin said.

The Mercy Family Center is also picking up the campaign and around 26 personnel from several different community organizations, including Citizens Bank & Trust, Cross Timbers Hospice, Lone Grove Schools, Carter County Health Department and more will be attending a ‘train-the-trainer’ program on June 20 in preparation. 

Godwin said she has seen many positive changes in the Carter County community over the last few years with regards to behavioral health, and the goal of the campaign and related events is to continue thinking outside of the box to end associated stigmas. 

“It takes our entire community to be able to break the barriers for people accessing care and for people to be able to connect with each other,” Godwin said. “We have to be willing to let ourselves be a little bit vulnerable in order to make it okay for those who are really, truly in need of help— who might not otherwise reach out.”

To register for the event, visit https://urlzs.com/xzoEB or call Ashley Godwin at (580) 220-8722.