May is National Mental Health Awareness Month
“Please join me in raising awareness on the importance of mental health as the month of May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. We must come together to make Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana the best place possible for all of our residents to call home.”
– Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry
May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. This month, LookUp (LookUpIndiana.org), along with many other organizations and individuals, is raising awareness by fighting stigma, providing support, education, and advocacy for mental health. Each week, we’ll share mental health insights from various community sectors to help us “Start the Conversation and Silence the Stigma” on mental health.
Since 1949, Mental Health Month has been observed in the United States. It is estimated that 1 out of 5 youth and adults experience mental illness. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for adolescents and an estimated 18-22 veterans die by suicide each day. More than 22 million people in the U.S. need treatment for alcohol or other drug abuse. Stephen C. McCaffrey, J.D., President and CEO of Mental Health America of Indiana states, “though we have made considerable progress since the days of people being imprisoned in an institution, with physical shackles and chains, people with mental illness and addictive disorders feel the weight of those chains through the ignorance and stigma that still exists today.”
Christy Gauss, MSW, Facilitator for the Indiana School Mental Health Initiative shares the importance of mental health in education. “Schools are the best place to move towards prevention and increase access to mental health services at the earliest ages and now we know that addressing student social, emotional, and mental health is essential to their academic achievement as well. It is also important to note that in order to promote the social and emotional health of our students we must first address the well-being of our teachers and provide them with the support and resources they need, including increased support from student services personnel and community partners. Resilient school staff and students lead to resilient and thriving families, and communities.”
We know that treatment works and people with mental illness and addictive disorders can and do recover. May is an appropriate month to raise awareness, look at the challenges in our mental health system, and what more can be done to create and support a culture of wellness. Indiana has become a leader in the nation for our mental health policies and innovative approaches to providing treatment and recovery. Comprehensive services are needed to supply all of the tools in the “tool box”, including inpatient and outpatient services, counseling, medication assisted treatment, and recovery supports.
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. For more information and to read the blogs for National Mental Health Awareness month, visit our blog page on LookUpIndiana.org.
In 2016, The Lutheran Foundation launched LookUp, a website-based initiative designed to provide mental and behavioral health information, and reduce the stigma associated with seeking mental health help. Truly a one-stop shop for mental health resources, website users can search for providers nearest them throughout Indiana, get information on mental health topics, keep up to date on recent news and blog posts, check for upcoming trainings and events and find 24/7 help. By connecting those touched by mental and behavioral health issues with life-changing resources, Look Up serves as a statewide clearinghouse delivering community-wide hope and healing. LookUp helps “Start the Conversation and Silence the Stigma” on mental health.
The Regional Mental Health Coalition of Northeast Indiana
In March 2015, The Lutheran Foundation launched the Regional Mental Health Coalition of Northeast Indiana to serve as a regional advocacy body to speak to both policy and larger structural issues in mental and behavioral health, as well as to combat the stigma associated with them. Serving ten northeast Indiana counties, the Coalition is led by a 25-member Leadership Council consisting of regional experts, including leaders from government, mental health, healthcare, judicial, education, faith-based, and workplace communities. This Council works to ensure collaboration of efforts between entities, assists in the development of campaigns to reduce stigma, and advocates for policy and systemic changes.
About The Lutheran Foundation
The Lutheran Foundation is a Christ-centered public charity foundation serving a 10-county region in northeast Indiana. The Foundation’s vision is spiritual, mental, and physical wellness for all people. Since its inception in 1995, The Lutheran Foundation has awarded more than $165 million through its grantmaking activities. In 2013, the Foundation commissioned the first ever regional mental and behavioral health assessment. LookUp is one of the Foundation’s major investments in response to the assessment and the vision of mental and behavioral wellness for all people. For more information, visit thelutheranfoundation.org.
Contact: Kristina Johnson
Director of Community Initiatives
(260) 458-2112, ext. 308
3024 Fairfield Avenue
Fort Wayne, IN 46807