May is National Mental Health Awareness Month.
This month, LookUp, along with many other organizations and individuals, is raising awareness by fighting stigma, providing support, education, and advocacy for mental health. Over the past 3 weeks, we’ve shared mental health insights from various community sectors. (If you missed them, check them out here: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3)
This week, we say THANK YOU to all of the individuals and organizations throughout Indiana that have taken a stand for mental health! Kudos to our mental health counselors, funders who support mental health initiatives, providers who include medication-assisted treatment for those individuals struggling with opioid use disorder, legislators who have been instrumental in advocating for improvements in mental health for Hoosiers, doctors who incorporate mental health assessments as part of their regular protocol, judges and law enforcement leaders who understand that those struggling with mental/behavioral health issues need treatment, corporate leaders who take the time to understand the effects of untreated mental illness in the workplace, school superintendents who have been proactive in improving social and emotional learning, and to faith leaders for incorporating mental health education within the faith community.
LookUpIndiana.org was founded in 2016 because people didn’t know where to go for mental health help and resources. Since then, LookUp has provided a one-stop shop for connecting people to care for more than 23,000 users. We are especially grateful for the following community members who have helped us ‘Start the Conversation and Silence the Stigma’ on mental health!
Indiana Suicide Prevention Network Advisory Council (ISPNAC)
Indiana Suicide Prevention Network Advisory Council (ISPNAC) is a statewide community working to prevent suicide by advancing the conversation, eliminating stigma and building hope. Their vision is to live in a state in which people no longer die by suicide.
“Historically suicide prevention has been considered the responsibility of the mental health field. While it is the responsibility of the mental health field to treat suicidality directly, everyone can play a part in suicide prevention, that is the shift in culture I am looking for. Activities such as screening for depression at our primary care offices or on school physical forms will help normalize the fact that we all have mental health along with physical health. Connecting with others in our communities in the form of asking our neighbors if they are okay or supporting an Out of the Darkness walk can reduce feelings of isolation. Knowing what resources are out there already such as the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1 800 273 8255) and safety planning apps such as My3 can better equip us to get help for someone who does answer yes to the question “are you thinking about suicide”. Bottom line, I believe suicide is preventable.”
– Laurie Gerdt, LMHC, Program Manager for the Zero Suicides for Indiana Youth GLS Grant Community Health Network/Behavioral Health Services
Regional Mental Health Coalition of Northeast Indiana
The Regional Mental Health Coalition of Northeast Indiana is an advocacy body focused on improving mental/behavioral health and wellness for the ten Northeast Indiana counties they represent. The Coalition is an initiative by The Lutheran Foundation, and was launched in March 2016. The Leadership Council for this Coalition consists of 25 expert leaders representing a variety of community segments, including mental health, workplace, health, faith-based, education, criminal justice, legislation, insurance, addiction treatment, media, funding, and more. Additionally, there are several work groups working hard on their particular focus area initiatives, which include: mental health, workplace, faith-based, schools, foundations, and medical.
LookUp wishes to thank all those who serve on the Leadership Council or as a committee member for one of the segments, and the vast number of people who participate as a Coalition member.
“With passion, expertise, time, and collaborative mindset, we are making great strides in improving mental/behavioral health care and wellness for our community.”
– Leadership Council, Regional Mental Health Coalition of Northeast Indiana
The Lutheran Foundation
LookUp is an initiative of The Lutheran Foundation. We are grateful the Board of the Foundation had the foresight years ago to move forward with creating the LookUp resource!
“The Lutheran Foundation’s past is rooted in caring for a person’s physical and spiritual needs. Yet, we recognize that mental well-being is connected to those needs and is part of whole-person health. As Chairman of The Lutheran Foundation Board of Directors, I am proud the Foundation is playing an important role in improving mental health in Indiana.”
-Luther Mock, Chairman of the Board, The Lutheran Foundation
Indiana System of Care
A System of Care is a spectrum of effective, community-based services and supports for children and youth with or at risk for mental health or other challenges and their families. Indiana is fortunate to have a robust statewide System of Care. LookUp provides a platform for System of Care information through the My Community page.
“People often fear what they don’t know. The topic of mental health is one of those ‘don’t knows’. That is why community awareness about mental health is so important. Mental health is about the well-being of all of us and it is important to start young to promote the social emotional development of our children. In Elkhart County, our system of care, The SOURCE, has been bringing partners together for a number of years to support youth who have significant mental health challenges and their families. More recently though, we have been thinking about what we can do to help people know more about how to support the mental health of their children. Research shows that early intervention is important. The most effective strategies emphasize public education and awareness, screen for mental health problems, and include information on appropriate, local treatment options. Through our system of care we are launching an awareness campaign called, ‘It’s OK to ask.’ The campaign is based on the idea that if we get good information we will be in a position to promote the health, and yes the mental health, of our community.”
– Bonnie Raine, Ph.D., Coordinator, The SOURCE – Elkhart County’s System of Care
Brenda Konradi, Executive Director, One Community One Family, Inc. shared:
Stigma is a barrier to people accessing the services they may need. System of Care plays a vital role in helping reduce stigma. Recently, a research team at Indiana University’s School of Education studied Systems of Care’s impact on a community. They studied the One Community One Family (OCOF) System of Care in Southeastern Indiana and stated the following in their report regarding reducing stigma:
“OCOF has improved and increased the communication and collaboration focused on mental health in Southeastern Indiana. As a result, many interviewees shared the opinion that a greater number of people are more aware and less afraid of talking about mental health related issues. Interviewees have further explained that there seems to be less stigma associated with mental health as a result of the OCOF’s efforts to improve awareness and communication about mental health-related issues. For example, one interviewee states,
“.. now everybody talks about it… it’s because of the System of Care. Agencies that really don’t deal with it on a daily basis are now dealing with it, and accepting it because of the System of Care. I really do believe that.” Another interviewee says, “I do believe it’s because of OCOF that the stigma isn’t as bad as it used to be.”
Ring Out Hope
During this month, we urge everyone to learn more about mental illness and addiction and simply reach out to a friend, neighbor, or family member who may need some support and help.
In May, and every month, let us ring out hope as we continue to fight for victory over mental illness and addiction.
Help us Start the Conversation and Silence the Stigma.