It's OK to not be OK: NEW Mental Health Connection provides resources and services to Fox Cities

NEW Mental Health Connection
Posted at 12:04 AM, May 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-18 07:01:20-04

APPLETON (NBC26) — Admitting you’re struggling with your mental health is challenging enough, and it can be even more difficult to find the right support.

“Mental Health Awareness Month is really about being okay with not being okay," said Sarah Bassing-Sutton, Community Suicide Prevention Coordinator for the NEW Mental Health Connection. "We’re all a little not okay."

The NEW Mental Health Connection is trying to make it easier for people to get the help they need.

“The most insidious stigma problem that we have is the stigma of asking for help," said Beth Clay, Executive Director. "Admitting that we are not together is a fate worse than death.“

The NEW Mental Health Connection created a web site with mental health and substance abuse information, resources and service navigation in Brown, Calumet, Outagamie and Winnebago counties. Up until recently, it was hard for people to get help, said Clay.

“It was still very difficult to navigate and find the services, find an agency that took my insurance, or find an agency that also has a faith component, or find an agency that has a Hmong interpreter," she said.

This month, the Connection is having weekly virtual seminars each Thursday of May, from how to use Safe Suicide Messaging, to sharing police-based and alternative responses to mental health crises. The Connection is also asking everyone to fill out the Fox Cities Mind Your Wellness Survey.

"This critical data will help us to inform her treatment efforts as well as our prevention efforts tailored directly to the adults who live here in the Fox Cities based on their responses to that survey," said Bassing-Sutton.

At many local bars and coffee shops, customers will find coasters with information on the Strong Minds 4 Men campaign.

“We all take information in in very different ways," said Bassing-Sutton. "With targeting middle-aged men, who are at the highest risk and the least likely to reach out, we really wanted to find away that they could have access to this information in all the places that they might go, and a way to explore this topic in the privacy of their own home or their own car, on their cell phone."

Anyone can attend the new mental health connections virtual seminars on the next two Thursdays this month. They are all recorded for anyone to watch after as well.

“We need to really view asking for help as a sign of strength, a sign of wisdom, a sign of insight, and a way that we can help others, really," said Bassing-Sutton. "Because once we open the door, we allow other people in. And then we start to learn that other people are struggling as well.“