BY NICK CALL
Our community is struggling with mental health. We are seeing higher and more severe occurrences of risk factors associated with mental health conditions, such as stressful life events, family conflict, and low self-esteem. To make matters worse, those of us who experience these struggles are negatively impacted by the stigma associated with receiving services and difficulty accessing services. You would think these would all be reasons for me to be pessimistic about the state of mental health care in our community. I’m not pessimistic. I am actually quite optimistic about the direction of our community efforts.
I have been fortunate enough over this past decade to work and collaborate with members of our community who care deeply about making a sustained, positive impact in our overall community mental health. We all share the same understanding that our community is struggling and change is needed. Part of this change is happening at a grassroots level; individuals like you and me are getting involved in local organizations, focusing on change one little bit at a time.
Small community organizations like the Weber Communities That Care Coalition focus on reducing risk factors and strengthening protective factors such as family bonding, access to services, positive conflict resolution, and healthy diet/exercise. I’ve personally seen the positive impact that just one person or organization can have on our community, and I am confident that we are headed in the right direction.