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Thank You

I just want to start by saying thank you. Thank you to each and every one of you who have made suicide prevention month such a huge success in our community. I am in awe of the team at AFSP who once again planned an amazing Out of the Darkness Walk that brought nearly 5,000 suicide survivors and advocates together in a day of celebration and to honor and remember those we’ve lost to suicide. It seems as if this walk grows each year, which I believe illustrates the need and desire for more support for those impacted by suicide in our community.

In the month of September alone our staff did more than 40 suicide prevention presentations to schools, churches, community groups, and businesses. So far this year more than 18,000 people have heard our message and empowered themselves to learn the warning signs and where to connect to resources if they identify signs in themselves or a loved one. I still remember when we first started this program nearly seven years ago. It was challenging to get people to allow us to come to their group and spread the message of the importance of mental health awareness and suicide prevention for all. Now, we can barely keep up with the presentation requests! I’m so humbled to see the shift in our community’s mindset and realization that we all need to learn more and more importantly, acceptance that we can all play a role in saving lives and providing hope to others.

The Kim Foundation team, in partnership with Region 6 Behavioral Healthcare, also hosted a screening of the “S Word” at UNO. More than 50 community members came to view the film and listen to a panel of suicide survivors, attempt survivors, and advocates. It was a great evening that was yet another opportunity for those passionate about suicide prevention to gather together to raise awareness and share their stories.

I also want to say thank you to Annette Dubas, Executive Director of NABHO, her staff, and executive committee, for successfully pulling off the inaugural NABHO Conference – Advocate, Educate, Collaborate. More than 100 Nebraska behavioral health providers joined together to listen to experts from Washington, D.C., Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska and learn and network with each other. It was a jam-packed day and a half that set the groundwork for a meaningful annual learning opportunity for those involved in behavioral health in our state for years to come.

Lastly, I want to welcome you to join us for our annual luncheon, A Time for Hope & Healing, with Patrick Kennedy on October 16th at Embassy Suites La Vista. Patrick Kennedy will offer a powerful message on the importance of mental health awareness and the impact mental illness can have on someone and their family. He speaks to this from his own personal experience and is transparent on his journey in recovery. Click here to register today!


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 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.