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Beyond Mental Health Awareness: Transforming Mental Health Advocacy into Action

As “Mental Health Awareness Month” unfolds once again, the familiar buzzwords echo through social media feeds and public service announcements. But amidst the sea of hashtags and well-intentioned campaigns, a sobering reality persists: awareness alone is not enough.

Allendale In-Home Therapist, Maral Binnebose, reminds us that, “our emotional, psychological, and social health are all components of our overall well-being; and that mental health is health.”

For mental health clinicians and advocates, the call to action reverberates louder than ever. It’s a call to break free from the confines of mere awareness and venture into the realm of tangible change. It’s a call to shatter the stigma surrounding mental health care, especially for children and families who often bear the brunt of societal misconceptions.

Mental health conditions are more common than you may think. Overall, 50 million US Adults struggle with a mental illness* and 1 in 6 US youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year**.

Awareness, while crucial, is merely the first step on a much longer journey. It’s akin to flicking on a light switch in a dimly lit room—it illuminates the problem, but it doesn’t solve it.

“Our work has never been more critical,” says Jason Keeler, Allendale President & CEO. “The pandemic has exacerbated the mental and behavioral health challenges that countless children and families face. Isolation, fear, and uncertainty have deepened the scars of trauma, making our mission even more relevant and urgent. Through your support, we have been able to provide a lifeline to those in crisis, offering a safe space for healing, a platform for their voices to be heard, and the tools to build a better future.”

So, what’s next? Empowerment. Action. Collaboration.

This May, we’re shifting the spotlight from passive awareness to active empowerment. We’re amplifying the voices of Allendale’s mental health clinicians, workers and advocates who are on the front lines, tirelessly working to translate awareness into tangible change.

Through insightful reflections and candid discussions with clients, families and policy makers, we’re challenging the status quo and dismantling the barriers that hinder progress. And most importantly, we’re empowering each other to take meaningful action.

At Allendale, we’re not just talking the talk; we’re walking the walk. Forging and strengthening connections within and around families is an essential component of Allendale’s core values and guiding principles for all of our therapeutic programs. Connecting youth and families with a circle of people that will continue to provide guidance, support and comfort is what motivates us, and helps empower our youth and families along their journey. We believe that providing space for youth to share their stories, forge connections, and access resources facilitates real change. Because in the fight for mental health equity, collaboration is our most powerful tool.

I want to help! But what can I do?

Let’s remember that change begins with each and every one of us. It begins with empathy for others in your community and a desire to learn more and be part of the solution. If you are ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work, join us for one or all of these upcoming opportunities to be the change!

  • Volunteer on our beautiful, historic 120-acre campus in Lake Villa! Sharing your talent and time teaches kids new competencies, teamwork and social skills. The opportunities are only limited by your imagination!
  • Shop our Spring Plant Sale for annuals, hanging baskets, vegetables & herbs on Friday, 5/10 and Saturday, 5/11 from 10am-4pm! Students in our Greenhouse, Embroidery/Silk Screening and Woodshop programs are proud to showcase their handcrafted items! 100% of your support goes right back into their program, working to give students employable job skills.
  • Register to run/walk or volunteer at our upcoming “Hustle for Hope Superhero 5K” on Saturday, May 18th! Join in this fun community event while advocating for mental health!

Together, let’s turn awareness into empowerment, and advocacy into lasting change!

A tradition of care and service.

For 125 years, Allendale, a private, not-for-profit organization, has led youth with serious emotional, mental, and behavioral health challenges and their families on a journey towards resiliency.

At Allendale, our aim is to offer every chance for healing and growth – through myriad programs and services and a continuum of care including 24/7 therapeutic residential treatment, therapeutic day school programs, outpatient counseling services, foster care and community support services. Allendale is a place where kids and families have the opportunity to restore their lives and discover a better future.

*Source: mhanational.org

**Source: nami.org