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In Like A Lion

You know those moments when you feel like you’re on the verge of something big? Or you can feel the tide changing for the better and exciting things are around the bend? We are feeling that way at The Kim Foundation these days! Or what about the saying that us Nebraskans know all too well with our ever changing weather patterns, In Like A Lion, Out Like A Lamb? Well we are charging ahead as the lion! We’ve had a huge March and we are looking forward to see what is in store in the coming months.

Jill Hamilton and I were fortunate enough to attend the National Council for Behavioral Health Conference in Las Vegas earlier this month. We were on information overload as we boarded our flights home, but learned so much and made some incredible contacts. We joined our favorite 5,000 behavioral health colleagues from across the country to take in a brilliant performance by Ji-Hae Park, a world renowned violinist who used her music to overcome many obstacles in her life and find her true meaning as she helps others. We saw some incredible TED Talks, including one of my favorite – I am Adam Lanza’s Mother, but My Son Got Treatment by Liza Long. I am quite certain there wasn’t a dry eye in the house! Another great session was Uncomfortable Conversations where six mental health professionals with conflicting points of view discussed topics such as patient confidentiality, race and ethnicity in healthcare, and cultural versus clinical competency. This session illustrated that sometimes differing points of view are what bring about important conversations that may lead to change. One of the highlights of the trip was joining about 20 other Nebraskans to celebrate the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) as they received an Award of Excellence for training and workforce development. Hats off to Dr. Howard Liu, Dr. Brent Kahn, and the rest of the BHECN staff on a job well done! We are proud to partner with you and we continue to be inspired by your commitment of excellence to enhancing the behavioral health workforce throughout Nebraska!

The National Council will also be hosting the annual Hill Day in Washington, D.C. June 6-7. This is the biggest behavioral health advocacy event of the year, where hundreds of stakeholders join together to serve people living with mental illness and addictions by urging Congress to support our work. Hill Day is held in partnership with 10 other national organizations and it is a great way to meet your representatives, learn more about the federal legislative process, and network with colleagues from Nebraska who share in your passion to improve the lives of those living with behavioral health concerns. Registration for the event is free, but each participant is responsible for travel expenses. The beauty of it is, serving as your state captain, I have to do all the work in terms of scheduling and organizing the meetings – you get to just show up and be eager to facilitate change! So please join us and help us meet our goal of at least 10 Nebraskans joining together in DC to advocate and provide a voice for those we work to serve on a daily basis.

Lastly, and perhaps most exciting, we are honored to announce our speaker for our annual event, A Time for Hope & Healing. Dr. Thomas Joiner, a leading national suicidologist, will be serving as our keynote speaker for our luncheon on Wednesday, November 9th at Embassy Suites LaVista. Dr. Joiner comes to us from Florida State University and the Laboratory for the Study & Prevention of Suicide-Related Conditions & Behaviors. Unfortunately, we continue to see more suicides across our community in all age groups so we feel like Dr. Joiner’s message strongly aligns with the needs of our community. We hope the event will provide inspiration, hope, and healing for those who attend. Make sure to watch for more information as our event is going to have a twist this year with an extended session for those interested in a more detailed presentation by Dr. Joiner, as well as a panel of suicide survivors and a memorial service where community members can honor their loved ones who have died by suicide.

Our hearts are with those who have lost a loved one to suicide this month (or ever). We know there have been several suicides in our community this month and our thoughts and prayers are with you all. We lost a colleague this month and his family, both at home and at Creighton, has not left our thoughts each day since. Your strength and grace through it all is an example for everyone and has provided a beacon of hope for many. He was a great man with a passion for helping others and it was an honor working with him over the last few years.

As we always point out in our community conversations, if you or someone you love is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please don’t wait, reach out today to 1.800.273.TALK (8255).


Julia Hebenstreit, Executive Director of The Kim Foundation

Julia Hebenstreit is the Executive Director of The Kim Foundation. She 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 since 2011, 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 on the Executive Committee for Nebraska Association of Behavioral Health Organizations, as the 2015 Hill Day State Captain for the state of Nebraska, and as an active member of the Nebraska Suicide Prevention Coalition, the Early Childhood Mental Health Coalition, BHECN Advisory Committee, RESPECT Advisory Board, Connections Advisory Board and the Project Propel Planning Group.