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An Opportunity for Learning, Kim Foundation Attends Community Events

I recently had the privilege of representing The Kim Foundation at various October meetings and events with the goal of inspiring an opportunity for more comprehensive and more successful mental health care for families. It is always a positive when others in the community recognize that mental illness affects one in four families and becomes involved in providing the community support programs necessary for sustained recovery.

On October 7, I attended the Mental Illness Awareness Week annual Legislative Breakfast sponsored by Bryan LGH Medical Center in Lincoln. In 1939 Lincoln General Hospital was the first general hospital in the US to provide acute psychiatric hospitalization for adults. This tradition of leadership, public education, and healing in the mental health field continues today under BryanLGH Hospital.  

A highlight of the breakfast was the reading of a City of Lincoln Proclamation signed by Mayor Chris Beutler which recognized that serious mental illness affects one in every four people; mental illnesses are more common than cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, and mental illnesses are the number one reason for hospital admissions nationwide. The Proclamation also reminded us that serious mental illnesses have proven to be highly treatable illnesses, and people can reclaim full and productive lives. As a culture, we need to discontinue wrongly imposing stigma upon those illnesses.

The Kim Foundation extends our appreciation to BryanLGH and the City of Lincoln for their outstanding leadership in drawing attention is such a positive way the needs of those with chronic brain disease.

The Kim Foundation was also invited to attend the annual Spirituality and Mental Health conference sponsored by Alegent Health in late October. Because of the stigmas which, sadly, still abound, people with mental illnesses often feel isolated, rejected, and defeated. Healing becomes more complicated for those who feel they have no hope. The Spirituality Conference encourages healing of the body, mind, and spirit recognizing the strong and positive relationship between faith and healing. Research shows that people with hope demonstrate stronger coping abilities and higher rates of healing. Our spirituality can help us recognize and establish those inner resources.

The conference encouraged dialogue between consumers and members of the clergy asking many questions. For example, how might clergy assist members of their congregation needing mental health care? How will clergy recognize symptoms of these complicated illnesses, and how do they locate appropriate community resources for those in their care? Perhaps as meaningful to the individual seeking hope and healing, how do clergy encourage members of their congregation to extend friendship and acceptance to people with mental illnesses?

The relationship between our health and our faith is profound; we were grateful to see so many pastors, congregation members, and mental health professionals joining the consumers and families for these great discussions.