Jewish Community Mental Health Coalition

Visit www.itsok.us for more information.

The Jewish Community Mental Health Coalition has 3 main goals:

  • Reduce the stigma of mental illness in the Jewish Community.
  • Provide better access to resources to prevent suicide.
  • Provide a place for people to go in the Jewish community for grief support that includes spiritual support.

The biggest impact of stigma around mental illness, or wherever stigma shows up, is isolation, shame and the feeling of being separate from the support and care of loved ones and community. What’s the biggest step toward combating stigma? It’s simple really. Just reaching out with normal, caring conversation to let your loved one know you care and you’re there for them.

It’s ok to start the conversation. It’s ok to talk to someone you care about who is dealing with mental illness even if you’re uncomfortable, feel awkward, or aren’t sure of the right thing to say. It’s even ok to say that you don’t know what to say, but you want to keep the conversation open. It’s ok just to offer a hug or sit silently with them.

And it’s ok to ask about your loved one’s own experiences without feeling like you have to fix it all for them, or try to make everything better. You don’t have to know everything about their illness or every possible treatment or therapy just to let them know you’re standing alongside of them.

It’s ok to ask if they want to talk about how they are feeling, what they are going through, their hopes or fears or frustrations, and how things are going. It’s ok to ask if they want you to tell anyone else, and if so, how you can tell that story.

Reducing stigma doesn’t mean fixing your friend or loved one or having all the answers. It means letting communication be a bridge between someone you love and care about regardless of the circumstances they are facing. It means doing for another just exactly what you hope they would do for you.

To learn how the Jewish Community Mental Health Coalition’s Anti-Stigma campaign can help YOU start the conversation, visit www.itsok.us for more.

What We’re Doing in the Community:

  • Visit http://www.itsok.us for the full anti-stigma campaign.
  • Community-wide mental health survey: A survey was sent throughout the community to give the MHC a baseline understanding of attitudes toward mental illness.  The results were used to build an anti-stigma campaign.
  • Clergy training: the MHC offered a well-attended training section for a cross-denomination group of Jewish Community clergy providing real-life tools for effectively helping with mental illness, suicide and grief and loss.
  • Suicide prevention information distributed throughout the community
  • Mental health resource list distributed throughout the community
  • Family-to-Family classes in conjunction with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), ongoing classes are open to the community to learn coping skills for families struggling with mental illness.
  • Anti-stigma campaign.
  • Grief and loss support groups.