The challenges facing those living with a mental illness are enormous, but a special day is on the horizon when residents of Southwest Florida can help in innumerable ways.
The Hope Clubhouse of Southwest Florida “Faces of Hope Who Give” Mental Health Luncheon is from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 28 at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Fort Myers. A $75 ticket opens so many doors for those at Hope Clubhouse, finding pathways to education, employment, housing and wellness. A ticket, sponsorship or money raised at the event help with:
Hope on Wheels: a food trailer partnership that will create jobs for Hope Clubhouse members, marketing, outreach and awareness of Hope Clubhouse services. The culinary program at Hope Clubhouse will provide 150 meals a day that will be sold three days a week at Lee Health. It will put 15 to 30 people back to work each week and earn members annual wages of over $200,000. Hope Clubhouse says the societal impact will be over $2.9 million.
Sunflower of Hope Bracelets: The bracelets that will be sold at the luncheon will provide enormous inspiration to those who wear them, not only at Hope Clubhouse but throughout the community. The giving, believing and having hope themes of the bracelets can help change the stigma and face of mental illness.
The “Faces of Hope Who Give” event raised a record-breaking $133,000 in 2018, but event chair Diana Willis wants another record, challenging the community to reach the $200,000 mark this year. “We are fortunate to have a community that is enthusiastic about giving. We’re confident that this enthusiasm will help us raise another record amount this year,” said Willis.
Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, will be the keynote speaker.
Among the mental health areas Owen plans to address are:
· The economic impact mental health can have on local businesses.
· The perception of mental health and its impact on those suffering from it and those trying to understand the challenges.
“Businesses need to support individuals experiencing mental illness,” Owen said. “It goes to the vitality of the community.”
Lee Health and Kids’ Minds Matter, who have launched a special partnership to address mental health needs in the community, will join together as title sponsors.
“Lee Health’s sponsorship of Hope Clubhouse – through Kids’ Minds Matter – is absolutely vital, not just because mental illness knows no age limit, but, equally, because we must offer those afflicted the promise of dignity, purpose and a loving community. Simply put, this is our calling as a moral, compassionate and humane society,” said Paul G. Simeone, Lee Health vice president and medical director of behavioral and mental health.
Both Lee Health and Kids’ Minds Matter have prioritized the need for mental health resources for a state that ranks last in per capita funding for mental health. Statistics show one in five children, ages 13 to 18, will experience a severe mental health issue.
In Lee County, 81,094 have a serious mental illness, including bipolar disorder, severe depression or schizophrenia. Over 30,000 individuals do not receive treatment. Almost half of Florida residents will face a less severe form of mental illness at some point in their lives.