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Mental Health Awareness Month

As many of you know, May marks Mental Health Awareness Month, which is obviously quite important to us here at The Kim Foundation. As we spend all of the year working to build awareness around mental health, we greatly appreciate a month being set aside for the entire country to focus on it as well. We’ve seen some great efforts throughout the state of Nebraska to mark this important month, including a press conference at the Capitol on the 14th, the Children’s Mental Health Awareness Pony Express Ride that is coming through to Lincoln next weekend, the 5th Annual Success, Hopes, and Dreams Conference, and so much more. Wow! I hope everyone had a chance to attend one or more of these events.

The Success, Hopes, and Dreams Conference was once again a huge success! I want to give a huge shout out to Pat Talbott of MHA Nebraska, Travis Parker, and the rest of the team for putting together such an incredible conference, jam-packed with thought leaders and keynote speakers from the behavioral health field, the Theater of War performance, dozens of information and resource booths, and numerous opportunities to catch up and network with old colleagues and new contacts. What a great week, and I’m already looking forward to next year! This is the only conference in our state that brings those impacted by mental illness together with providers and advocates for the opportunity to all learn together and from each other. What a wonderful experience, and it’s amazing to see how it’s grown over the years. Congratulations to all who were involved!

As I think I do each year as May comes to a close, I want to thank everyone who did something this month to raise awareness around mental health, which unfortunately is still far too stigmatized. I also want to encourage everyone to continue those awareness efforts far beyond May, and carry them into your everyday lives and work. Until mental health is viewed as every other medical condition, and access to mental health care is just as accessible, our work should continue. I believe we are making progress every day, but there is still much work to be done! We will continue doing our part, and thank all of those who join us in these efforts.

As our awareness efforts and other programs continue to grow, so do the needs of the foundation in order to implement everything successfully – and that includes new staff! I’m pleased to welcome Lori Atkinson to our team. Lori comes to us with a diverse background, including some work with a private foundation and as a middle-school teacher. Lori will serve as our Administrative Assistant, and coordinate many of our outreach efforts. Please join us in welcoming her to our team!

In addition to our awareness efforts, we’ve embarked on a new program, the Metro Area LOSS Team, we have a special request to throw out to our supporters who follow our newsletter. We are in need of a passionate individual who has a sincere interest in suicide prevention and postvention, and is willing to volunteer approximately four hours of their time each month to serve as a co-clinical director. This person must be a licensed provider in the state. Do you know of someone who would be a great addition to this crucial program in our area? If so, please contact either myself at or 402.891.6997, or Jill Sauser in our office – or 402.891.6998. We look forward to hearing from you!


Julia Hebenstreit, Executive Director of The Kim Foundation
Julia 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 for three years, 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 as an active member of the Nebraska Suicide Prevention Coalition, the executive committee of the Nebraska Association of Behavioral Health Organizations, RESPECT Advisory Committee, the Early Childhood Mental Health Coalition and the Adolescent Mental Health Coalition. She also serves on the Women’s Fund Circles Board.