Our landscape continues to unfold in a way that none of us could have guessed back in March, but the commitment The Kim Foundation and our team have to meet the mental health and suicide prevention needs in our community remains unwavering. I am so proud of our team, our board, and our community partners for being adaptable, collaborative, and creative as we try and figure out how to get the necessary education and training opportunities out in the community. The one thing that we know for certain during these uncertain times, is that the need for mental and behavioral health services remains in our community. Perhaps now more than ever. Behavioral health funding, education and training, and adapting and increasing access to services for our community members needs to be a strong priority as we look at how we move forward from the pandemic and racial and cultural turmoil that have been highlighted throughout the summer.
July is designated as Minority Mental Health Month and is intended to shine a light on the mental health and suicide prevention needs among minority populations. So much more needs to be done to address, build up, and support all the needs and experiences of underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, but in this time, we focus on the mental health needs. How can we diversify behavioral health professionals so that the workforce more truly represents our whole community? How can we adapt our service models and access options to better address the needs and experiences of all cultures? How can we make sure that our messaging, education, and training truly represents everyone in our community? I challenge us all to not just focus on this in July, the designated month, but in all that we do as we move forward and serve our communities.
The Kim Foundation’s team continues to look for and create new opportunities to spread the message of hope, help, and healing to all. Our mental health needs are just as important as our physical needs. No one should ever feel alone or believe there is no one there to help them. We have a number of programs and opportunities to bring this message to your workplace, school, church, or community group and have adapted our programs for where in-person learning may not be an option. If you would like free programming, information, or prevention items, please reach out to the foundation today! In closing, we are grateful to the Linden Park Hy Vee for selecting The Kim Foundation as their organization for the month of August to receive a $1.00 donation for every reusable red shopping bag purchased at that location for $2.50 throughout the entire month. Please support us by stopping in at this location – 747 N. 132nd Street – and purchase your bag today! Hy Vee has been a great partner over the years and we know they’ve been impacted by suicide this year and we are so appreciative of them prioritizing prevention and working to save lives in their community. This is yet another strong example that each of us, no matter an individual or business – big or small – has a role to play in suicide prevention and saving lives in our community. Let us know if you would like to get involved today!
Julia Hebenstreit, Executive Director of The Kim Foundation
Julia Hebenstreit is the Executive Director of The Kim Foundation. She 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.