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988 Oklahoma Teams Up with Comedian Paul Scheer

Commercials. Movies. Social media. Billboards. Every single day, we’re sold that people are living their best lives all the time. It can feel like everyone is perfect and happy — except for you. So we put on a happy face. We pretend to be tough, even when we don’t feel like it. We bottle things up and hurt in silence. 

For the 988 Mental Health Lifeline’s second big game appearance, we’re going head on with the masks we put on. Directed by and starring comedian Paul Scheer, our new campaign parodies commercial cliches and reveals what would happen if Oklahomans said what they were actually feeling.

“We are showing you, in commercials — the one place where everyone is fake happy — what if they really said what was on their mind?” said Paul Scheer. “That was something I wanted to be a part of. It’s something that’s so universal and so important for us to continue to talk about.”

We know humor is a powerful conversation starter. We laugh when we feel seen, and jokes help break the tension when topics are hard. The 988 Mental Health Lifeline is teaming up with top comedians to do just that: make mental health more approachable and relatable.

“This is a giant problem, and because it’s a giant problem, we need to make a big and bold ad to get your attention and get you to actually dial that number,” said Scheer. “Coming at it with humor and engaging the audience is something that’s been really exciting to me.”

After 988 Oklahoma’s big game debut last year starring Kristin Chenoweth, calls and texts to the 988 Mental Health Lifeline doubled. Since, over 50,000 Oklahomans have reached out for help. 

The 988 Mental Health Lifeline is an initiative of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Anyone who is experiencing a mental health crisis or considering suicide can call or text the lifeline for free, confidential support 24/7. Callers or texters with Oklahoma area codes will speak with crisis counselors who live and work in Oklahoma.

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