Leading in Mental Health Awareness

Posted on April 1, 2024


Chris Dobrozsi

Council Message by Council Member Chris Dobrozse

Blue Bird - Montgomery Mental Health Initiative LogoHappy Spring 2024 to all. I hope everyone had a wonderful winter season and you were able to enjoy the few snow events we had – nothing is more beautiful than pure white snow blanketing the barren trees and landscape. With April upon us, my family and I cherish the warm weather and the ability to be outdoors to celebrate what we all have in common – a love for this City and a desire to gather and celebrate family and friends at the numerous community building events we have here in the City.

The magic of the great community we call Montgomery, “a community where people care about one another and feel they belong together,” is created when the City convenes the residents to establish a personal connection. That connection leads us to care for one another to stay united.

That is what makes Montgomery unique.

This caring for one another led the City to recognize that while we were providing the basic services to our residents, as all cities do, we could do more to address the mental health needs of our residents. This came to the forefront as the 2020 pandemic lingered on. To that end, Montgomery City Council and City Staff committed to being change agents in de-stigmatizing mental illness and increasing awareness, advocacy and education of mental health and wellbeing. This is a non-traditional role for government, but Montgomery has always been a leader in municipal governance, and mental health awareness is more important than ever.

To symbolize this commitment, the City chose the bluebird as the symbol of the initiative as this bird symbolizes hope, love and renewal in many cultures. Even in the harshest climates, when bluebirds have a scarcity of food, they will manage to sing cheerfully. It is a sign that you should never lose faith, even in your darkest hours. You must hold to the belief that it will be alright in the end.

In a short two-year period, this commitment has delivered results!

We have conducted numerous community forums including:

  • Mental Health overview by the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI)
  • Suicide Prevention provided by the organization 1N5
  • Depression/Anxiety
  • Montgomery Police Critical Incident Training (CIT)
  • Anxiety/Depression in Youth provided by the Affinity Center
  • Dementia – a three-part series provided by the Alzheimer’s Association
  • Our first annual Mental Health Fair was a success with our host partner, Twin Lakes
  • 2023 was capped off with an incredible presentation from Kevin Hines sharing his story of attempting suicide by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisco – his story of survival and hope is truly remarkable

What’s next:

  • Soon, you’ll hear about our newest team member in Montgomery. Asha, a therapy dog, will join our staff to provide support services and will benefit our community.
  • Our second annual Mental Health Fair will be held on Saturday, April 6, at Twin Lakes from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
  • The City will be announcing a new software application that will pair those who are in need of mental health services with therapists and counselors who are committed to helping others.

In closing, I’m so proud to live in this incredible community and for our Council and Staff to recognize the tremendous opportunity we have to connect people who are struggling with mental health – and for the many resources that are available to assist them through difficult times. Working together – we can all make a difference.

 

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