United Way Mental Health Panel

Representatives of United Way of the Midlands, Salvation Army and Community Alliance formed a panel at community event Monday to discuss the shortage of beds in residential treatment centers in Omaha. The need for additional inpatient and long term care facilities for people with mental illness is not new. However, it is a growing need, with only one in three people with a mental illness seeking help. “Longtime stigmas against acknowledging mental illness often prevent people from getting the help they need,” one panelist said.

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Olympic Swimmer, Amanda Beard, Speaks to Reduce Stigma

We recently had the opportunity to hear American swimmer Amanda Beard, a seven-time Olympic medalist, speak in Omaha on behalf of Community Alliance. Her visit called attention to health issues caused by mood disorders and emotional challenges, including the resulting devastation upon people’s lives when these challenges are neither recognized nor addressed.

Amanda reflected on the years of emotional turmoil with which she coped, or didn’t cope, and how her personal life continued to spiral downward because of poor self-image, lack of opportunities to talk openly and share her emotional challenges, and the pressures of being a teenage media personality. Severe depression, anorexia, bulimia, and self -injury through cutting became her coping tools.

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