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A Change in the Seasons

I hope you all are enjoying the change in the seasons . . . the cooler temperatures, the beautiful reds and golds that are starting to show on the trees, the kids running through the pumpkin patch full of laughter and joy – posing for pictures with all sorts of creatures! This is such a fun, festive time of year, but it also bears significant importance for those of us in the mental health field. Mental Health Awareness Week will be coming up very shortly – the first full week of October, and this is always a reminder to focus on building awareness about this crucial topic and puts a spotlight on why we do this job – the individuals and families who need our advocacy and support.

As always, I urge you to think about them while you attend awareness events and rallies that will be going on. Think about them the next time you’re serving a client and you start thinking about the 101 things sitting on your to do list. Think about them when you reflect back on your day and what you are grateful for. Many of these individuals and families are struggling to find the right services; the right medication; to keep a cohesive family unit; to hold down a job; to explain to their children why mom or dad isn’t up for coming to their ball game today . . . But many of these individuals and families are living full, successful lives in recovery and stand as a beacon of hope for others. Let’s celebrate and remember them as we raise awareness of mental health and educate others about how mental health is, and always should be, just as important as their physical health. Without one, you can’t have the other, and both should be looked at in a similar manner.

We here at The Kim Foundation are in full swing of events and activities coming up in the next few weeks as we focus on the importance of mental health and raising awareness throughout the community. It will start by flying out to Washington, DC this weekend for National Council for Behavioral Health’s Hill Day. I am so looking forward to this experience once again this year, as I will be joined by hundreds of people from across the country to advocate and provide a voice for thousands of families and individuals impacted by behavioral health concerns. On my way home I will cross paths mid-air with our Project Coordinator, Jill Sauser, as she heads to Dallas for the National Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS) Conference so that we can enhance our local program and better serve the families we encounter.

Then we are in full on event mode! Kevin Briggs will be with us for our annual luncheon, A Time for Hope & Healing, on October 13th at Embassy LaVista from 11:30am – 1:00pm. Kevin will talk about his experience patrolling the Golden Gate Bridge, having helped more than 200 individuals choose life instead of death by suicide. His poignant presentation will focus on true stories of survival and how he has now dedicated his retirement to suicide prevention and crisis intervention work. Monday night Kevin will be meeting with local law enforcement representatives and officials to talk about his experiences, as they learn from each other on this important topic. We are very grateful to have him be our featured speaker, and are looking forward to a wonderful event! There are still a few spots left, so please register today! The registration deadline is October 6th. Please feel to reach out with any questions about the event! We’ll see you there!


Julia Hebenstreit, Executive Director of The Kim Foundation

Julia received her J.D. from Creighton University in 2005, and her BS in Journalism from the University of Nebraska Omaha in 2002. She has been with The Kim Foundation for three years, and prior to that worked for local non-profits doing development, strategic planning, communications and advancement. She has a passion for helping people and improving lives, and serves as an active member of the Nebraska Suicide Prevention Coalition, the executive committee of the Nebraska Association of Behavioral Health Organizations, RESPECT Advisory Committee, the Early Childhood Mental Health Coalition and the Adolescent Mental Health Coalition. She also serves on the Women’s Fund Circles Board.