United Way supports health, including mental health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the best way to build awareness is to talk about it. The Mental Health Foundation reports (https://mentalhealthfoundation.org/mental-health-statistics-2021) that 1 in 5 adults live with a mental illness and almost 1 in 25 adults live with a serious mental illness. Of the individuals living with a chronic mental illness, 50% started to experience symptoms before the age of 14 and 75% of chronic mental illness starts by age 24. What does this mean? It means that we have a lot of amazingly brave people in our community who should be celebrated and supported. At the United Way we fight for the health of every individual in Steele County. We do this by supporting programs run by our partner agencies, partnering with professionals in the community to help identify solutions, and overseeing internal programs that promote positive mental health.

We have many partner agencies that are bringing awareness to and supporting individuals that live with mental health concerns, through their programs and services, including Cedar Valley Services, Children’s Remedial Fund, Health Finders, and South Central Human Relations Center’s Sage Enrichment Center. We have an amazing partnership with Allina Health, managing the Health and Happiness Project, a Mental Health and Wellness website full of resources, together. Internally, we have a Mental Health Subcommittee that serves within the Strategic Impact Committee, and we also partner with United Way 211 to help connect people with local resources. I am so thankful for the partners we do have in our community.

Mayo Clinic, also a United Way partner in the community, offers these Self-care tips to manage health and wellness. Take time for self-care, it doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it should be consistent and intentional. Some self-care techniques that can be incorporated into your day include journaling, meditation, prayer, and mindful movement like tai-chi or yoga. The old saying goes, if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else. So, take time, even for a few minutes, to find peace and joy, everyday of your life.

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, there is help. Call 1-844-CRISIS2 (274-7472). For information on self-help resources, visit www.healthandhappinessproject.org or for additional local resources, dial 211 or visit the United Way of Steele County website. Filling the Gaps, Addressing the Needs, We’re Your United Way. LIVE UNITED.