A Letter from the President

Advocacy

Greetings!

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. This month, LookUp, along with many other organizations and individuals, is raising awareness by fighting stigma, providing support, education, and advocacy for mental health. Each week, we'll share mental health insights from various community sectors.

Since 1949, Mental Health Month has been observed in the United States. It is estimated that 1 out of 5 youth and adults experience mental illness. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for adolescents and an estimated 18-22 veterans die by suicide each day. More than 22 million people in the U.S. need treatment for alcohol or other drug abuse. Though we have made considerable progress since the days of people being imprisoned in an institution, with physical shackles and chains, people with mental illness and addictive disorders feel the weight of those chains through the ignorance and stigma that still exists today.

We know that treatment works and people with mental illness and addictive disorders can and do recover. May is an appropriate month to raise awareness, look at the challenges in our mental health system, and what more can be done to create and support a culture of wellness. Indiana has become a leader in the nation for our mental health policies and innovative approaches to providing treatment and recovery. Comprehensive services are needed to supply all of the tools in the "tool box", including inpatient and outpatient services, counseling, medication assisted treatment, and recovery supports.

During this month, we urge everyone to learn more about mental illness and addiction, plan or participate in an event or activity to increase awareness, or simply reach out to a friend, neighbor, or family member who may need some support and help. In May, and every month, let us ring out hope as we continue to fight for victory over mental illness and addiction. #4mind4body www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may - Stephen C. McCaffrey, J.D., President and CEO of Mental Health America of Indiana

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry has been a key participant in local mental health initiatives. He was a keynote speaker at both the LookUp launch and the launch of the Regional Mental Health Coalition of Northeast Indiana in 2016. We are grateful that our elected public officials recognize the importance of mental wellness.

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry at LookUp Launch in 2016 with Kristina Johnson and Marcia Haaff "I appreciate the innovative work being led by The Lutheran Foundation as we address mental health needs. Now more than ever, it's vital for us to come together as a community and region to help individuals and families in need of help and direction. Proactive efforts like the LookUpIndiana.org initiative and the implementation of The Regional Mental Health Coalition of Northeast Indiana place our community and region in better position to make a lasting and meaningful difference in the lives of those who need it most. Please join me in raising awareness on the importance of mental health as the month of May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. We must come together to make Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana the best place possible for all of our residents to call home." - Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry

Lisa Smith, MS, Executive Director of Mental Health America of Northeast Indiana "Wellness is essential to living a full and productive life. Everyone is at risk of daily stress and mental health challenges, but taking steps to stay healthy and well can help. These steps involve a healthy and balanced diet, exercise, and adequate sleep. Embracing wellness improves health of the mind, body and spirit, but also maximizes one's potential to lead a full and productive life. This May, we want to encourage everyone to learn strategies to maintain a healthy lifestyle, build resiliency, and nurture relationships for better mental health and wellbeing." - Lisa Smith, MS, Executive Director of Mental Health America of Northeast Indiana

During this month, we urge everyone to learn more about mental illness and addiction and simply reach out to a friend, neighbor, or family member who may need some support and help. In May, and every month, let us ring out hope as we continue to fight for victory over mental illness and addiction. Be sure to check back for each week's new blog for National Mental Health Awareness month, visit our blog page on LookUpIndiana.org. Help us Start the Conversation and Silence the Stigma.

Stephen C. McCaffrey J.D.

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