A key element of the Rotary Mental Health Initiatives that the Rotary Club of Denver is focusing on is educating its members about the realities of mental illness in order to break down the misperceptions and biases.
Dr. Carl Clark, CEO of the Mental Health Center of Denver spoke at one of the Club’s regular luncheons about mental health and personal wellness. The Club has held Fellowship meetings focused on various aspects of mental health at the Mental Health Center of Denver, the Comitis Crisis Center and the University of Colorado Depression Center. In addition an overview of Colorado Crisis Services, which operates a 24-hour mental health hotline and walk-in crisis centers throughout Colorado was recently presented at a regular Club luncheon.
The Club plans to continue similar and related programs to educate it members about mental health. Although these efforts will need to continue indefinitely, the Club also intends to take the next steps of encouraging members to take the messages that they learn about the realities of mental illness to other organizations that they are involved in, such as their employer, church, professional organizations, civic organizations, chambers of commerce … the possible audiences that should hear this message are limitless.
As one of our founding members commented:
“Although these educational efforts are great, the best way for someone to eliminate their own misperceptions and biases about mental illness is to get involved directly helping the mentally ill at their local community mental health center.” Another founding member followed up noting that “Our educational programs can create an intellectual awareness of the realities of mental illness, but only personal interaction helping the mentally ill will create the lasting emotional connection.”