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A New Year
With a new year comes new opportunity for change and growth, and there are plenty of bills before the State Legislature this session that will allow for growth in the mental health field if they are passed. Some of the bills we are keeping our eye on are LB923, LB887, LB931 and LB916.
- LB923 would require training on suicide awareness and prevention for school personnel. The rate of students contemplating suicide remains staggering, and school personnel come in contact with these kids on a daily basis. If they can be provided the tools to know what to watch for and how to respond in a crisis situation, the more lives that could potentially be saved.
- LB887 is the Wellness in Nebraska Act. Senator Campbell has introduced this bill in response to Medicaid Expansion not passing last year. For more information on this program specifically, please visit www.wellnessinnebraska.com.
- LB931 proposes funds be set aside to implement Mental Health First Aid training throughout Nebraska. Many other states have implemented this program across the country, and we believe it would strongly benefit our communities to have the training available here. Mental Health First Aid teaches the skills to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.
- LB916 would eliminate integrated practice agreements and change provisions regarding nurse practitioners. I think that this bill could have a large impact on increasing access to mental health services.
There are several other bills that we are following and will provide updates as we can throughout the session. I’m encouraged by the way that a number of Senators have realized the importance of mental health awareness and education in our communities, and we hope that their colleagues will come to share this belief as well.
I hope many of you were able to attend the At Ease® luncheon January 27th. What a moving and inspirational message from Sergeant Sammy L. Davis. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house as he belted out “Shenandoah” on his harmonica and told of his stories from the Vietnam War. The most resilient point from his message was, “You don’t lose, until you quit trying.” This is so very true, and can be applied to various parts of our lives. The services provided through At Ease allow for military members and their families to “not quit trying.” Like Sergeant Davis, I congratulate the individuals involved with At Ease for reaching out to active and retired military personnel and their families, and for touching them in a way that likely changes their lives forever.
Here at The Kim Foundation we are encouraged by all of the wonderful grant proposals we received this past year. It proves that there are innovative programs being offered throughout our community to impact the lives of individuals touched by mental illness. We are honored to support some truly wonderful programs, and will be spotlighting some of them in our newsletters this year. Please see the Grant Spotlight article this month to learn more about some exciting things going on at Completely Kids! We are also encouraged by the number of students and recent graduates who have recently reached out to us. There is certainly a group of up and coming professionals that have a real passion for making a difference and changing lives. One in student particular is conducting a research project on family dynamics in a situation where one of the youth in the family has a mental illness and acts aggressively, so that a better understanding of what these families need can be reached. If you would like more information on participating in this study, please reach out to me at 402.891.6997 or firstname.lastname@example.org and I can get you in touch with this young lady who seems to have a passion for making a difference!