Each year during the month of May numerous organizations and communities come together to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month. For far too long the stigma surrounding mental health has prevented people from seeking services they desperately need, but through advocacy and grassroot efforts such as Mental Health Awareness Month, slowly, we have started to chip away at the stigma over the years. Like many, The Kim Foundation looks forward to a day where the brain is treated equally to all other parts of our bodies; where seeking out therapy or other mental health treatment is as commonplace as an annual physical for all ages; and where those in recovery are celebrated for their journeys toward wellness. By carrying out our mission and joining colleagues across the country for Mental Health Awareness Month in May, we are working toward this each day. We hope you’ll join us and participate in something that honors those with lived experience and sheds light on the stigma that still exists.
The pandemic has brought mental health to the forefront even more and I believe we will see a lasting impact on mental health as we move through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. That makes it even more crucial to join us in raising awareness and celebrating Mental Health Awareness Month. Throughout the month of May you will see numerous social media messages, videos, and communications about mental health coming from The Kim Foundation. We will also be highlighting a number of local and national mental health awareness efforts throughout the month. See below for more information on a few that we will highlight:
Mental Health America first started Mental Health Awareness Month back in 1949! They have put together an amazing toolkit that you can utilize to share messaging, host events, raise awareness, and join them in bringing attention to “something that everyone should care about” in Mental Health Awareness Month.
“Stamp out Stigma” is another initiative that is spearheaded by the Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness that was created to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and substance use disorders. We invite you to join us in Stamping out the Stigma throughout the month of May! Take the pledge, and when you do, we want to hear about it! Either post something on social media and tag The Kim Foundation or email us at email@example.com. Together we can “Stamp out Stigma!”
These are just a couple of initiatives we will be highlighting this year and we hope that you will join us! Make sure to connect with The Kim Foundation through our e-newsletter and social media to stay up to date on all that is happening! As always, we encourage you to join us in these efforts not only in May, but always. Help us break down the stigma, support those with lived experience and their families, and save lives from suicide.
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.