Parents invest a lot of energy in their children’s health — ensuring they eat fruits and vegetables, get regular check-ups and reach developmental milestones. But there’s something vitally important to a child’s wellness that may be overlooked: mental health.
Amanda Beard thought her house had been robbed. She was 12 years old and had just returned home with her dad from a business trip to Florida. She was excited to tell her mom how much fun they had at Disney World, and as she bounded into the house, she saw all their living room furniture was gone.
She took an inventory: The couches, lamps and end tables were missing, but the stereo, dinner table and everything in the kitchen was still there. It slowly dawned on her — they hadn’t been robbed; her mother had moved out.
September 25, 2000, is a day Kevin Hines remembers vividly. He was standing on the Golden Gate Bridge, tears in his eyes, ready to take his life. He wasn’t there because of a bad breakup or because he had lost someone close to him. He was there because mental illness had distorted reality to the point he believed he had no other choice.
“At 19 years of age, I went to that bridge and I did jump off because I believed I was worthless and no one loved me,” Hines remembers.
Patrick J. Kennedy is on a mission. Since leaving Congress in 2011, shortly after the death of his father, Sen. Ted Kennedy, the younger Kennedy is determined to change the way people view mental illness and addiction.
“Forget stigma – we need to end discrimination,” Kennedy told over 300 people at the second annual Oaklawn Mental Illness Awareness Week luncheon and fundraiser on October 7, which raised $11,000 to support Oaklawn services.
More than a dozen agencies in Elkhart County came together Wednesday, May 27, at Bashor Children’s Home in Goshen to kick off the Partnership for Children, a new initiative aimed at reaching at-risk youth.
Oaklawn’s 16th Annual Spring Spectacular featuring Mariel Hemingway was a huge success, with more than 900 people attending and approximately $70,000 raised to benefit mental health and substance abuse treatment services.
Oaklawn will expand its Patient Assistance Program to Elkhart, thanks to a nearly $20,000 grant from United Way of Elkhart County. Oaklawn’s Patient Assistance Program helps clients who are uninsured or underinsured receive medication at no cost. The grant will support the hiring of a coordinator to oversee the program at Oaklawn’s location on Oakland Avenue, where about 225 clients are expected to benefit during its first year.
Children in Elkhart County will soon have access to more mental and behavioral health services, thanks to a $250,000 grant that was awarded to Oaklawn and 11 partner agencies. The Elkhart County Community Foundation awarded a Key Initiative grant to the Partnership for Children, a collaboration between the agencies that aims to expand services to more at-risk youth.
Miss Indiana Mekayla Diehl will be the featured speaker at a women’s luncheon and fundraiser to benefit Oaklawn. Women’s Circle of Hope will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. on November 5 at Oaklawn’s Goshen campus, 330 Lakeview Drive. The luncheon is free, and open to any women in the community who would like to learn more about Oaklawn’s mission, but reservations are required by October 27.