Looking Ahead to May

May is a big month for those of us in the mental health field. It is recognized as many as Mental Health Awareness Month, and others recognize the first full week as Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. When reviewing Mental Health America’s website I loved their theme, “Mind Your Health.” It aligned very closely with our community’s goal of shifting the mindset of individuals to view their mental health as a medical condition, just as they do with others such as cancer, diabetes, an injury, etc. We are working with the Douglas County Health Department in the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) to help facilitate this change here in Omaha. Mental Health America talks about building public recognition on the importance of mental health to people’s overall health and wellness. They also suggest different positive actions to protect people’s mental health and promote their whole health. Please visit their site, http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may, for more information on how you can get involved and take some positive actions of your own!

More than 1,000 communities will be joining SAMHSA to celebrate and bring awareness to the ever so important topic of Children’s Mental Health. The awareness day themed, “Inspiring Resilience, Creating Hope” will be recognized with a launch event at the National Council Behavioral Health Conference in DC (which a handful of us Nebraskans will be attending!) on May 6th, and there will be numerous local events across the country on May 8th to “Inspire Resilience, Creating Hope.” Will you be doing something local here in Omaha or Nebraska to recognize National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week? If so, please email me at jhebenstreit@thekimfoundation.org to let us know about it. We can help spread the word and possibly attend if appropriate. If you are looking for more information on what is going on nationally, please visit the SAMHSA site.

A lot of exciting things are happening here at the foundation as well! We are extremely excited to announce Mariel Hemingway as our keynote speaker at the annual fall luncheon being held on October 22nd this year. Make sure to save the date and watch for more details to get registered! We have also added a new full time staff member. I’m excited to have Jill Sauser join the team as a Project Coordinator. Jill joins us from Angel Guardians and brings a lot of experience to the team. Welcome Jill! Don’t Be Sidelined, the public awareness campaign we have worked on for two years with amazing partners, will be handing out information and bracelets at the Husker baseball game on May 17th at Hawks Field. Come on down to see the Huskers last home game of the season and help us promote mental health awareness. Lastly, I will be heading to Washington DC next week to attend the National Council for Behavioral Health Conference. What an exciting lineup of speakers they’ve put together! I’m looking forward to hearing experts from a number of specialties and networking with fellow Nebraska professionals, as well as new national folks! I hope to learn a lot and bring back valuable information to share with colleagues.

I would like to close by saying thank you to each of you who volunteer, not only for us here at The Kim Foundation, but throughout the community at those organizations carrying out their mission in causes close to your heart. April is National Volunteer Appreciation Month and I want to make sure to send out a huge THANK YOU to all of you! Without you, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do each and every day!