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‘Your story is not written in stone’: Mental Health Awareness Month spreads information, hope

05/29/24 12:30:pm

While we live and breathe mental health care every day at Rogers, Mental Health Awareness Month in May gave opportunities to bring knowledge and hope into our surrounding communities.

During the monthlong campaign, Rogers team members helped bring attention to the importance of being open about struggles and seeking support, taking steps to eliminate stigma.

Rogers teams hit the pavement

In Sheboygan, Rogers employees joined student ambassadors at South High School May 15 for a Mental Health Awareness Walk & Community Event sponsored in part by Rogers, which aimed to increase understanding and bring mental health to the forefront. Rogers also helped sponsor NAMI Manitowoc County’s first Little Black Dress Party, which team members attended to support the mental health organization.

Sheboygan black dress event.JPG     Sheboygan NAMI event.jpg

Pennsylvania teammates joined the NAMI Montgomery County walk on May 4, an event Kelli Cochran in Community Relations says helps build a network of support.

“Some of the people who were there have come from a very, very dark place. Maybe they have lost a loved one to suicide or have made their own attempt, so it’s really beautiful to see people coming together for no other reason than to support one another and promote the end of stigma,” Kelli says, praising NAMI for all the support they offer the community. “For as many steps as we’ve made toward eliminating stigma, we still have a long way to go. At Rogers, we try to be inclusive and say this is a safe place. The more we can offer that type of support to people, the more you will see people coming forward and being more comfortable with their struggles.”

PA NAMI walk 1.jpg  PA NAMI walk 2.JPG

“Now more than ever, it’s important to highlight how to access resources to care and reduce stigma,” says Megan Kurdi, Philadelphia director of outpatient services. “Continuing to be a part of opportunities like this within our communities not only gives visibility to Rogers and the work we do here, but it also increases the connection we have to those around us and supports our neighborhoods, letting people know they’re not alone.”

Megan says it’s also important to help the helpers.

“How fitting it is that One Rogers Week falls right in the middle of Mental Health Awareness Month. I think a big component of that awareness is the support we’re providing our helpers. Sometimes they don’t always fill their cup. I appreciate Rogers stepping in and continuing to push that shift in focus as well, because without people doing the work to help others, there wouldn’t be a place to go,” she says. “Reflecting on One Rogers Week and bringing camaraderie across the System, I think it’s so important we maintain connection to the Rogers mission.”

Rogers hits the airwaves

Rogers professionals could also be seen on TV, speaking live each week on WISN 12 News in Milwaukee about mental health topics including lingering impacts of the pandemic, stress and anxiety in children, compassion resilience, and the impacts of screen time. Canine Comfort team Petunia and Lisa took center stage in a WISN 12 News story about the impact their visits have on patients.

Showing the power of hope and giving back, Fox6 in Milwaukee featured Christina Mundschau, sharing her inspiring story of addiction recovery and return to Rogers, this time as an employee.

“I walked in these doors when I was a patient, broken,” Christina says in the story.

Five years after joining Rogers as a patient at Herrington in West Allis, she now works as a recovery support specialist helping patients at the same facility that changed her life.

“I get to help watch that light come back, that life inside of them return, and to me there’s nothing more powerful or beautiful than that,” Christina says. “I truly believe that a key to staying in recovery is to give back what you’ve been so freely given. Your story is not written in stone. You have the amazing ability to mold and shape your life the way you want it to be.”

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