May 2016 Update
"Investing in All of Our Futures"

Dear Friend,

AMITA Health Alexian Brothers Center for Mental Health Outpatient Counseling Team Leader Barb Howard says investing in mental health is an investment in all of our futures.

Thanks to the investment of donors like you, the Center for Mental Health is entering its 54th year of providing mental health services to the community. This is in spite of $652,000 in state funding cuts this year. You helped ensure that 900 people could access psychiatric services they wouldn't otherwise have received. You made it possible for therapists like Barb, Sarah, Gary and Natacha to do work they love: giving thousands of community members, including thousands in 21 area schools, tools and skills to lead healthier, happier lives. Thank you!

As you read more below about Barb and our therapists, please know that your investment is making a difference. By helping people who need these critical services, you are creating better schools, safer streets and stronger families. Thank you for your support. Please consider making a gift to the Center today to help us continue to meet the increasing need for services, or join us Monday, June 6 for our Chip In Golf Outing. Proceeds benefit the Center for Mental Health. Thank you!

Melanie Furlan
Vice President, Advancement
Alexian Brothers Foundation

16th Annual Center for Mental Health Chip In Golf Outing

Monday, June 6, 2016
Boulder Ridge Country Club

Please join us! Raise critical funding for the Center for Mental Health while enjoying a spectacular private golf course, pastries and a Bloody Mary bar, lunch at the turn, and carving stations and a full bar at dinner. Register

"This work has taught me how many people need our help."

I have a little one I'm seeing now. She lost a loved one when she was really young. When she started therapy, she wasn't doing well at all. She was always anxious, nervous. She came in here on her first day and didn't want to say a word to me. I've been working with her for months, and it's incredible to see the improvements she's made. She's talking more at school, even talking about her early loss. It is a great feeling. - Sarah Rudek, therapist I 



"You're investing in all of our lives and all of our futures."

When we help people and they are then healthier, it helps all of us. I believe that. It's why I donate to the Center every year. I once worked with a teenage boy who had just been discharged from the hospital. He was suicidal. He was completely isolated. He was hopeless, so I had to provide the hope that he could get better. It took a while. But step by step he slowly recovered through a combination of therapy and medication. His anxiety and depression decreased. He started slowly stepping out more, doing more social things to the point where he was actually able to apply for, get accepted and go away to college. He called me a couple of years later and was doing great. Seeing him slowly walking out of mental illness - it was amazing. - Barb Howard, outpatient counseling team leader

"It makes a difference, working for a faith-based organization."

We really try to be responsive to the needs of our clients and to put them first. We're advocates, and now we're working on having a state budget. A lot of other mental health programs have had to cut back in services. I'm fortunate to be here in that I haven't really felt that in my outpatient therapy program. We've actually expanded because of the needs of our clients. Most of our clients do see positive changes and growth. I have worked with clients who have been able to make a successful transition from high school to college while managing their mental health symptoms. I work to help them navigate dating, academic struggles and college success. Some clients have been able to stop self-injuring once they have received the support from therapy. It's rewarding, opening people up to new ways to cope with their problems and mental health issues. - Gary Michelsen, outpatient therapist III  

"Treatment really does make a difference."

I love this work. I love being able to help people find their strengths and get through challenges. One client I worked with had a lot of behavioral issues: depression, anxiety, self-injury, not going to school. Over time we built rapport and trust, and he eventually realized he had choices in how he was going to react to things. You always have a choice. Every choice has consequences. Something clicked for him. He started taking ownership of his actions and wanted to turn things around. It reinforced the importance of therapy and also of the inner motivation to want to change. I was pleased, and he was too. It's fun, validating and rewarding to feel like I am giving my clients what they need. - Natacha Roman, therapist II



Learn more about the work we are doing to expand access to behavioral healthcare. Make a gift to support people struggling with mental illness or behavioral health disorders.

Thank you!