November 30, 2021

EPP Spotlight: Mental Health Association of IRC

Mental health wellness poster created by students who participated in ELH for depression awareness and suicide prevention.

Mental Health Association of Indian River County (MHA) is dedicated to providing immediate access with no barriers to mental health care. Through MHA, individuals are afforded an opportunity for an improved quality of life with access to a continuum of care, reduced stigma of mental health issues, as well as increased integration and acceptance within a community that has an informed understanding of mental health issues. According to Indian River Indicators, the rate of youth hospitalizations for mood and depressive disorders is 991 per 100,000, while the state average is 467.3 per 100,000.

The amount of youth getting help in our county is not necessarily a challenge; programs such as MHA's Middle & High School Violence & Suicide Prevention & Intervention teach students how to manage their emotions and ask for help when they need it. Unmet mental health needs interfere with youth establishing healthy relationships, succeeding in school, and being self-sufficient in work. MHA crisis intervention, skill acquisition and effective treatment give IRC youth a safe net to have healthy, productive lives and decrease high personal/community costs from lack of care. This program is essential to continue MHA services to address the unmet treatment needs of IRC middle/high school students requiring immediate mental health help, crisis intervention and/or ongoing treatment.

From 10/1/2020 to 6/30/2021, 2,484 students participated in prevention psychoeducational classes of Erika’s Lighthouse (ELH) with student surveys showing 89 to 91% of students learning and benefiting from the program. Students learned about depression awareness and suicide prevention in a non-judgmental and educational way, focusing on the importance of reducing stigma and that “It’s okay to get help!” A middle school parent shared ELH inspired her daughter to talk about what she had learned in class, inviting ongoing communication within the family about mental health.

Mental Health Association of Indian River County is also a part of our Endowment Partners Program (EPP).  The purpose of the EPP is to help local charities plan for their long-term sustainability by growing a permanent endowment fund. During a 12-month program, participants learn about endowments, planned giving, investment management and marketing solutions that inspire loyal donors to make planned gifts from their estates. The program is coordinated by IRCF team member Yamilet Cendejas.

To learn how to give outright contributions today or bequests and other planned gifts for future support, please see "Planned Giving: Leave a Legacy" under our "Giving" section or go to the MHA website.

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