“If mental health will likely touch us all at some point throughout our lives, can we not begin to understand it earlier? If a child breaks their arm, everyone talks about it; how it was broken, why it hurts, how it will mend, potential complications. No-one bats an eyelid about seeing a cast. However, if a child becomes depressed, there is usually no frank discussion about what might be wrong with their brain and why they could be feeling down. Although there are treatments available, there is a big gap in explaining the processes happening in the brain.” – Rebecca Slack, PhD Research in Neuroscience at the University of Sheffield
The best way to get involved is for you to make mental health a priority at home, in your schools, and in your community. By simply talking about mental health not only do we promote a culture of inclusiveness, awareness, and compassion, but we save lives. Let’s stop addressing mental illness only during times of crisis and instead make awareness a part of the conversation from an early age. Ask your schools to focus on mental health education just as they do physical education. Let’s educate ourselves so that we are better equipped to recognize and support those who need it. Let’s replace stigma with acceptance so that it is just as easy to ask for help with depression as it is to ask for help with a broken arm. Let’s learn common symptoms and warning signs so that we can help a friend. Let’s know where to turn for help before a crisis. Let’s be proactive when it comes to mental health.
Your donation to The Benny Fund will be used to fund mental health educational programs and to fund scholarships for deserving students. Given we are a new organization, we can only provide an estimate of where we hope to allocate our resources. In May of 2014, we awarded our first scholarships and to date we have awarded a total of six. We continue to evaluate educational programs to fund in the Northeast, with a goal of implementation in the fall of 2016. Our organization operates with minimal overhead (<1%) due to gifts and support from some wonderful volunteers. Although this may change, we expect to spend ~30% of our funds on scholarships and ~70% on educational funding.