Most of you know about Interfaith’s most visible program, our food pantry. But did you know that when we were founded in 1947, our first program was The New Directions Counseling Center? For more than 70 years, our clinicians have provided therapy and counseling services to families and individuals.
New Directions serves anyone seeking counseling, but we pride ourselves on being a safety net for the uninsured and underinsured members of our community. Although we accept most traditional insurance policies, 72% of our clients do not have health insurance or cannot afford the co-pays and deductibles required. New Directions makes mental health care accessible to everyone by offering a sliding scale payment system.
One of the ways we fund these necessary programs is through our annual Stop the Stigma 5K event. The 5K shines a spotlight on mental health by getting people talking about mental illness and addiction and encouraging those in need to seek out treatment without feeling shamed.
Mental health is as important as physical health to the well-being of any human being. One of our 2019 5K participants bravely spoke out about her experience battling substance abuse.
"I’m so glad I decided to run this year’s Stop the Stigma 5K. As someone who is in recovery and approaching four years of sobriety, I was excited to have the chance to give back to a cause that is dear to me and support the mission to stopping the stigma around mental illness and addiction.
My personal experience is with alcohol. It was one of slow progression for which I had a lot of fun in the beginning, and then it was fun with problems, then it just became a problem. It was a month before my 30th birthday that I knew I needed to get help with my drinking after years of binge drinking, blackouts, and mornings of shame, regret, depression and anxiety.
I no longer knew what would happen when I decided to drink and what the outcome would be and that was scary.
I am so fortunate to have a loving family and close friends that supported me from the start, but I realize not everyone has that kind of support. I've also been front stage to loved ones suffering from bi-polar, PTSD, depression and anxiety and it's been heartbreaking to watch and see them struggle as well.
I've found the most important part of both addiction and mental illness is talking about it and receiving the right support and help to recover and live a happy and joyous life, for which everyone deserves.
Today I am more at peace than I've ever been because of what sobriety has given me. I have hard days but the good days far outnumber the bad and I know that I can get every drop out of life when I am sober. Not to mention, I can go out in a race, give it my all, and take home a 1st place female win! 😄
Anything is possible when you give people the opportunity and support they need to heal and thrive and I'm so glad to support Interfaith in helping make that happen."