Recently, Shoreview City Councilmember Emy Johnson was invited to become a board member for Northeast Youth & Family Services (NYFS). Serving in this dual role allowed Emy to meet with Carter Johnson, publisher of the White Bear Press, who joined her for NYFS’s annual Leadership Luncheon. Mr. Johnson’s article about the work of NYFS and his meeting with Emy follows below:
Posted: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 4:02 pm
by Carter Johnson
Last week I joined Shoreview City Council member Emy Johnson at the Northeast Youth and Family Service annual Leadership Luncheon fundraiser at Midland Hills Country Club. Mary Brainerd, CEO of HealthPartners, was the keynote speaker.
The Shoreview-based organization serves people of all ages throughout the northeast metro area, with a primary focus on youth ages 5-21. Through collaboration with cities, local school districts and other human services agencies, NYFS provides mental health services, youth employment training, delinquency intervention program, summer camps for low-income youth, mentoring and tutoring programs, among other services geared to at-risk youth and individuals and families in need. NYFS joined forces with the White Bear Counseling Center in July of last year, and now operates locations in Shoreview and White Bear Lake.
I was struck by the statistic that one in five individuals in Minnesota are diagnosed with mental illness, and one in 17 will struggle with a severe mental illness during their lifetime. Often mental illness goes undiagnosed and untreated because the people affected fear the stigma.
Mental illness is fairly common, yet most people aren’t comfortable talking about it. The example was shared that when people seek treatment or are hospitalized for a mental illness, they don’t typically receive “get well” cards.
Brainerd challenged the group to continue promoting awareness and conversation to change the stigma surrounding mental health.
Efforts to help change the stigma range from providing more education in the waiting room for families and loved ones to the simple step of encouraging more open conversation. The website www.okayhealth.org is a resource for patients and families who find themselves dealing with a mental health issue.
Take time to understand what is available in our communities, and check out what NYFS is doing for our residents at www.NYFS.org.