Stigma is a reality that has plagued the mental health fields for years. But now, amid a worldwide pandemic and the increasing shame of once benign acts like coughing in a grocery store, we are experiencing something else that is new. Suddenly people are talking about stress and mental illness a little more freely. Therapy memes are being posted on social media pages and videos are made encouraging us to engage in self-care. While Mental Health Awareness Month has been around in the United States since 1949, it is gaining momentum this May and opening us all up to the possibility that people sometimes need a little extra help.
During this breakthrough, I also have concerns. There are still too many people who are not receiving the care that they deserve. Insurance companies are not following parity laws consistently. And people keep telling me that suicide rates are rising in the Omaha Metro area.
The good news is that the last of those statements is just not true. While the Metro area lost 36 people to suicide by this same time last year, our toll this year is 25. We all know that one death is too many and therefore will continue to fight against suicide, encourage awareness and advocate for our friends, family, and neighbors.
The Metro Area Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS) Team is here to help you if you have been impacted by the suicide death of a loved one. Our team is present to offer resources, support, and sources of hope to the newly bereaved. If you or someone you know would benefit from a visit with the LOSS team, please feel free to contact us via The Kim Foundation or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a suicide survivor, having lost a loved one to suicide, with interest in volunteering with our team please complete the application found here: https://www.thekimfoundation.org/metro-area-loss-team/.
It is an honor to serve our community as we fight against stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide. We share care and concern for all affected. Please never hesitate to reach out when in need.
Sarah Voss, LOSS Team Coordinator for The Kim Foundation
Sarah is a Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner and Licensed Professional Counselor who obtained a Masters in Community Counseling from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She has worked as a therapist since 2008, providing treatment services to children, adolescents, and adults. Sarah is board certified by the National Board for Certified Counselors. Her past clinical work experiences include crisis intervention, inpatient care, outpatient care and supervision in the non-profit sector. She has been certified as a suicide prevention trainer through both QPR Institute and Connect, in collaboration with Region VI. Sarah is a passionate advocate for suicide prevention and a member of the Metro Area Suicide Prevention Coalition. Additionally, Sarah has volunteered as a member of the Metro Area Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS) team since its inception and is now employed by the Kim Foundation as the team coordinator.