Mental Health American of the Heartland is Awarded Grant

Mental Health America of the Heartland (MHAH) has been awarded a $41,500 grant from the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City for Sabbaths of Hope: The Next Steps Part II. Sabbaths of Hope: The Next Steps Part II is a unique and innovative approach to assist those in crisis, stressed or struggling with life’s challenges.

In today’s turbulent economic times, people feel like they are all alone or “can’t take it any more” and may be temporarily depressed due to their current life circumstances. This condition may be lead to major clinical depression which is a debilitating medical illness that affects the whole person—emotionally, physically, cognitively, socially and spiritually aspects.

Clinical depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, affecting more than 19 million Americans each year. Depression causes people to lose pleasure from daily life, complicates other medical conditions, and can be serious enough to lead to suicide. Depression can happen to anyone, at any age, and to people of any race or ethnic group. It is never a “normal” part of life, no matter what one’s age, gender or health situation. Many people are afraid to seek help and fearful of those with mental disorders. MHAH believes that mental health issues can be treated successfully and that mental wellness is possible for everyone.

“The Health Care Foundation has been happy to support Sabbaths of Hope over the past few years,” said Andres Dominguez, HCF Program Officer. “This effort brings the faith community together to provide professional mental health services for families that often don’t seek them due to issues such as lack of trust. This project helps eliminate barriers to quality mental health services.”

It is vital that people know that there are places they can turn to for help during these tough times. “What we know, as a profession, is that the best way to treat depression and those related mental health issues is a combination of medication, psychotherapy, lifestyle changes and practical strategies” said Susan Crain Lewis, MSSW, President/CEO, Mental Health America of the Heartland. The latter two alternatives to traditional therapy have become increasingly popular, especially for those who have limited access to mental health professional services.

MHAH has partnered with 5 local congregations to establish weekly depression support groups and monthly educational workshops, both of which are proven effective and efficient complements to mental health treatment. The free confidential support group is a safe place where people can come together and meet others who may be facing the same situation. This ongoing group, facilitated by a licensed mental health professional, offers people healthy ways to cope and strategies to improve their situation. People feel encouraged and can come as they choose.

The monthly educational workshops provide up-to-date information to persons with depression and related mental health conditions that encourage wellness and recovery. Their families and significant others, care providers, community and healthcare professionals are also welcome to attend. MHAH recognizes the importance of education as a way to better cope with the challenges and stresses of everyday living and living mentally healthier lives.

“Mental Health America of the Heartland and HCF share a common goal to help the uninsured and underserved population and we are grateful to continue to do so,” said Susan Crain Lewis, MSSW, President/CEO, Mental Health America of the Heartland. “This grant allows us to reach more Kansas City residents who are in need of mental healthcare services”.

In 2012, HCF will award $20.5 million in grants in the Greater Kansas City area. HCF financially supports programs, projects and services that focus on improving public health and access to quality health care for the uninsured or underserved.
For more information on this grant, contact (Stacy Davis, Director, Mental Health Promotion) at 913-281-2221 or sdavis@mhah.org

Mental Health America of the Heartland (formerly the Mental Health Association of the Heartland) is a bi-state (Kansas and Missouri) advocacy organization formed by merger in July of 1996, with roots in greater Kansas City dating back to the 1920’s. MHAH’s mission is to “promote the mental health of the community and improve the quality of life of persons with mental illness, through advocacy, education and support.” Locally MHAH serves over 26,000 persons per year in 5 programs: a Child & Youth Mental Health Initiative, Mental Health Promotion, Advocacy and Recovery Services, Heartland Housing and Housing to Homes.

The Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City provides leadership, advocacy and resources that eliminate barriers to quality health for the uninsured and underserved in Kansas City, Missouri, Cass, Jackson and LaFayette counties in Missouri and Allen, Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas. Since it began grantmaking in 2005, HCF has awarded more than $140 million to agencies addressing health needs in the community. For more information, visit www.hcfgkc.org