History of the Campaign
The It’s OK campaign was set up in 2011 by then 16-year-old May Gabriel to tackle the stigma around teenage depression. The campaign was initially set up to “create a place where young people could see that they were not alone – and to emphasise the importance of being open about mental illness”. Nowadays the campaign still seeks to support young people with Mental Illnesses through educational resources, campaigning for change and through the blog which started this all.
When the It’s OK Campaign was set up, it was one of the first online blogs run by a young person who talked about mental illness. Now, things have changed and the online mental health landscape has shifted dramatically with thousands of accounts seeking to reduce the stigma around mental health and illness. Within this landscape, the It’s OK Campaign strives to be a hub of information, from first-hand accounts of various mental health issues to advice for those currently dealing with mental illness as well as their families and friends. With an ever-growing bank of resources, the It’s OK Campaign can be used as a tool to help everyone know that #ItsOK.
About May Gabriel
The campaign is still run by May Gabriel, who during her teenagers years was admitted into hospital on several occasions while suffering from severe depression. She has been a formative voice on youth and student mental health for the past 9 years – speaking on radio, television and print about mental illness. She is a seasoned public speaker.
In 2018 she was elected as the Sussex Students’ Union Welfare Officer and represented the welfare needs of over 18,000 students. During this time she began to transform the mental health landscape at the university and set up a student-led ‘Tea & Talk Peer Support Network’ where trained students offered support to other students.
In 2019, May began working as a project manager for Rethink Mental Illness, a leading mental health charity in the UK. Here, she runs a university mental health scheme in six universities across London.
May defines as a lesbian, disabled, woman of colour and currently resides in London with her partner. Aside from mental health, her passions lie in LGBTQ+ rights and representation, as well as Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
She is always open to new opportunities for speaking engagements and trusteeships.
Media and Awards
- Victoria Derbyshire Show BBC
- BBC Radio 5
- BBC Radio Sussex
- Huffington Post
- The Guardian (expert interviews)
- BBC News (South East)
- United Nations Happy Heroes award – Nominated by Artist Stuart Semple
- TalkTalk Britain’s Young Digital hero award: The Mirror
- Liberty Human Rights charity Christine Jackson young person’s award – shortlist
- Mind Charity Digital Media award – shortlist