Blog

The Kim Foundation Blog features insights, news and resources on mental health and suicide prevention. Check back often to stay updated and informed.

Community Resources

Here at The Kim Foundation we strive to pursue our mission to be a supportive resource and compassionate voice for lives touched by mental illness. We continue to find new avenues to better fulfill this mission and to better serve the mental health community, while staying true to our long-time goal of connecting people with needed resources. Fighting the stigma that is too often associated with mental illness and building awareness in the community about this extremely important topic remain top priorities for the foundation.

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Program Highlight: Youth Emergency Services (YES)

I had the humbling experience to participate in Youth Emergency Service’s “Day in the Life Tour,” last week. It all began in 1974 when a group of older adults were inviting homeless children on the streets of downtown Omaha to sleep in their homes. After waking up to their kitchen cabinets painted green, they decided it was time to open up a separate facility where these youth could come for food, shelter, and rest. YES now has grown to serving over 1,000 Omaha kids each year. Their services include a Drop In Center, Youth Street Outreach, an Emergency Shelter, a Transitional Living Program, and a Maternity Group home.

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Children and the Boston Marathon Bombings

A study was conducted by Jonathan Comer, an associate professor of psychology and psychiatry at Florida International University in Miami, which looked into the psychological effects of the Boston Marathon bombings on kids. This study included 460 children between the ages of 4 to19 years old, living within a 25 mile radius of where the bombings took place. Comer was looking to find out how many of these children either exposed directly or through the media, were seeing symptoms of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Eleven-percent of parents who were also surveyed said that their child has shown signs of PTSD. This number was very similar to the findings among New York City children after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

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Hunger Hormone Could Be Key in Fighting Depression

A natural hormone produced in the stomach and intestine could be the newest advancement in depression treatment.Ghrelin, often referred to as the “hunger hormone,” serves numerous functions in the body including the ability to stimulate hunger when levels rise. Researchers at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, discovered a natural antidepressant effect when these levels increased.

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Omaha Refugee Collaborative

The Omaha Refugee Mental Health Collaborative met last week to discuss the progress of the recently introduced mental health screening process. Until late, refugees in Omaha were only receiving a basic health screening upon arrival to their new home. Concerns began to arise when professionals working with the individuals and families were seeing symptoms of depression, PTSD, and anxiety in their clients. But because there was no mental health screening process established, most of these individuals would not seek or receive treatment.

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National Council Conference and Success, Hopes and Dreams

Several of our Nebraska colleagues joined together in Washington D.C. in May to attend the National Council for Behavioral Health Conference, and to participate in Hill Day. It was a wonderful opportunity for us to network, share ideas, and learn about national trends in the behavioral health field. The conference included presentations by Linda Rosenberg, Tom Insel, Mariel Hemingway, Bruce Perry, Hillary Clinton, Don Berwick, Patrick Kennedy, and many more! I for one left the conference feeling enlightened, and inspired to bring the energy of the week back to our office to make a difference in our work as we move forward.

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Program Highlight: “Project Harmony”

Part of my responsibilities as Project Coordinator, is to learn about our local agencies and their mental health services. I have begun scheduling tours of these various programs and recently had the opportunity to tour Project Harmony. Walking into Project Harmony you are greeted by color, art and warm smiles. Between the Lego wall, brightly colored carpet and custom made ceiling sculptures, the entrance is enough to make you briefly forget why they are there.

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OMAHA Gives!

As I look back over my first few weeks as Project Coordinator here at The Kim Foundation, I am overwhelmed by the positivity of the people and organizations we are able to work with every day. When your days are centered on suicide prevention and mental illness, it is easy to let these difficult topics overcome your thoughts and emotions.

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Mental Health First Aid

According to Mental Health First Aid USA, “Mental Health First Aid is an in-person training that teaches you how to help persons developing a mental illness or in a crisis.” A few weeks ago Dubuque County, Iowa hosted a free Mental Health First Aid training to over 30 people. Participants attended this two day training in order to learn what courses of action should be taken when one is thought to have a mental illness. Overall, the course helps to educate about mental health and how to help one get the professional services they may need.

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Light to Moderate Exercise Can Improve Anxiety and Depression

The snow has finally melted and our days are slowly getting warmer. People all over are hitting the gym just a little bit harder than normal to try and shed that pesky winter weight in time for swimsuit season! While we all know the physical health benefits of exercise, more studies are linking exercise to improvement of mental health. The benefits have proven particularly helpful in improving symptoms of anxiety and depression.

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