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Addressing mental health issues

Contributions from the Otto Bremer Foundation help lead campaign


Regions Hospital - Foundation - Charlotte Johnson

“Almost everyone has firsthand knowledge of a friend or family member who has dealt with a mental health issue,” said Charlotte Johnson, a trustee of the Otto Bremer Foundation. “Mental health issues have an impact on all our lives on both personal and community levels.”

The Otto Bremer Foundation was one of the largest contributors to our Campaign to Transform Mental Health Care. Contributions helped fund a new mental health building on the Regions campus along with innovative new programming and Make It OK, a campaign to fight the stigma associated with mental illness. By the end of 2013, Regions Hospital Foundation had raised $6.3 million as part of this effort.

“The work Regions Hospital has undertaken on addressing mental health issues is multifaceted, from building quality facilities to reaching a broad public audience on achieving a better understanding of the issues and available support,” Johnson said. “In all its work, Regions Hospital has been thoughtful in engaging those who have been impacted with mental health issues. It has then aligned this input with the most current research on how to provide respectful, effective services that are designed for long term results.”

The Otto Bremer Foundation’s role in the mental health campaign began in 2012, when its contribution launched the InReach program. InReach provides aggressive, short-term case management services to uninsured and underinsured patients with mental illness who have been frequent users of emergency room or inpatient mental health care. The program helps participants organize ongoing care and social services so they can stabilize their lives. “InReach is a big step in assuring that individuals are provided with a path to long term support as well as reducing the number of future emergency situations,” Johnson said.

The Otto Bremer Foundation followed up this gift with a major contribution to the Make It OK anti-stigma campaign. As part of Make It OK, Regions has combined a robust marketing and media campaign with outreach efforts by partnering with the National Alliance on Mental Illness Minnesota, Twin Cities Public Television, local community organizations and the advertising firm Preston Kelly. “This particular campaign is focused on creating an environment in which the public feels more comfortable talking about mental health issues,” Johnson said. “In this way, people will reach out and support friends or family members in open ways that recognize mental health issues for what they are—health issues, not character flaws.

“Historically mental health issues have not been fully understood and have often been overlooked or stigmatized. Increasing knowledge about the scope of mental health issues and effective treatment methods provides opportunities for the Otto Bremer Foundation to support programs and organizations that can make a real positive difference in people’s lives.”