Mental Health Awareness Month – Resiliency
By Trista Stout-Walker, Vice President of Community Impact
In recognition of Mental Health Awareness month, I reflect on the past year and the resiliency shown by the Partner Agencies of United Way. Our community suffered tremendous anguish, anxiety, and grief during the pandemic and other events that transpired in 2020. The past year highlighted the need in human and health support services for increased mental health supports.
Calls to 2-1-1 tripled in March of 2020 and remained high throughout the year. The team at 2-1-1 was on the front lines assisting callers with finding a solution to their needs. Mary Howard, 2-1-1 Program Manager, shared that often times the callers just need to know that someone cares, that someone is on their side. 2-1-1 shared a success story with me a few weeks ago. A local veteran credited 2-1-1 with saving his life. During the pandemic he was battling depression and had isolated himself from friends and family. He was contemplating suicide and called 2-1-1 just to see what help was available. He stated that the call specialist lifted his spirits, made him feel valued, and offered him a human connection. He was supported to connect with a local health care provider to start receiving treatment. He was extremely grateful to the 2-1-1 team and said that he may not be here today without them.
His story demonstrates the importance of mental health in Southwest Alabama. Our partners expanded service opportunities to offer tele-health throughout our footprint of Choctaw, Clarke, Mobile, and Washington Counties. Additionally, they are utilizing the United Way safety net to make their clients whole by offering wrap around services. The safety net includes several partners that offer affordable mental health services. For example, Alta Pointe Health, Victory Health Partners, and Lifelines Counseling Services just to name a few. A full list can be obtain by visiting www.uwswa.org. If you or someone you know is looking for help, please dial 2-1-1 or call/text 888-421-1266 to connect with a 211 Call Specialist.