Catalyst for Change – Investing in Mental Health

May is National Mental Health month and The Lutheran Foundation and Look Up is grateful to Business People Magazine for sharing information about mental health and doing a feature article and front cover on our initiative!

“We need to break down the barriers that are preventing people from receiving the mental health care they need.”
– Kristina Johnson, Director of Community Initiatives,
The Lutheran Foundation

Dennis Goff, Marcia Haaff, Kristina Johnson

CEO Marcia Haaff is aware of national mental health data: one in five adults in any given year experience a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety; one in 25 adults in any year is diagnosed with a mental illness such as bipolar disorder or major depression that limits life activities.  To clarify local mental health needs and gaps in services, The Lutheran Foundation in 2013 commissioned Praxis Strategies and Solutions to complete a mental and behavioral health needs assessment for 10 counties in northeast Indiana. The findings are driving the foundation’s redefined focus within its Building a Healthier Community grants category. Funding is now targeting initiatives and services that do the following: reduce stigma and promote community awareness and understanding of mental health conditions; foster early screening, diagnosis and treatment; and support strength-based strategies for children, youth and other vulnerable individuals.

The Leadership Council of the Regional Mental Health Coalition was also highlighted.

Leadership Council 2017

” A 25-member Leadership Council from the varied sectors meets periodically and, via an online management tool, is effecting policy and system changes and facilitating collaboration and coordination of mental health initiatives.

Though the needs assessment identified many existing services for mental health and addiction, “They are not well-connected,” Johnson says. “Even the most well-meaning individuals or organizations can find themselves operating in a silo, not communicating well with others to ensure the best care for people.” Case in point, in several counties where substance abuse was identified as a major concern, survey informants said despite considerable marketing of general prevention and recovery information, few knew where to get local help for addictions.

“The coalition is focused on breaking down this silo effect, promoting collaboration and communication,” Johnson adds, noting with 50 percent of lifetime mental illness cases having onset by age 14, and delay in treatment averaging eight to 10 years following onset of symptoms, “We need to break down the barriers that are preventing people from receiving the mental health care they need.” ”

Want to know more?  Read the full article here. 

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