Theresa Rulien, CEO, Child Guidance Center
In honor of Pride Month, United Way of Northeast Florida offered its partners serving the youth community the opportunity to share how together we can create a stronger Northeast Florida for all. Here’s what United Way partner Child Guidance Center, a non-profit that provides counseling and support services for children and their families had to say:
Mental illness favors no color, no gender -whether biological or preferred, no socio-economic class, no educational background, no family structure. Mental illness, whether persistent or short-lived, affects us all. Depression, anxiety and any emotional discomfort is not a “them” problem. It is an “us” issue. We need to embrace that truth and share in the support and healing of our community brothers and sisters, as well as ourselves. We are partners on this planet and we are responsible for one another.
The stigma surrounding mental illness and the discussion of mental health is outdated. In this era of whole health it is imperative we understand there is no line of separation at our shoulders. It is a bygone era to believe mental health and physical health do not go hand in hand. We make conscious and well-informed decisions to care for sniffles and coughs or unfamiliar pains, in a preventive manner, to ward off more long term and costly diseases, yet we shrink away from doing the same for our mental well-being. Addressing sadness and nervousness before it turns into depression and anxiety are healthy lifestyle practices we should all follow. Encouraging this practice in our children, our friends, our colleagues and especially those physically, emotionally, culturally positioned on the outskirts of the community is imperative. Our LGBTQI+ neighbors are specifically affected in a world where a consistent means of support may not be available and an understanding that embracing the differences within this human race builds a strong community.
Child Guidance Center is proud to partner with United Way of Northeast Florida and the Jacksonville community to support families in need of additional mental health support. Funding from United Way has supported mental health services through the Full Service Schools initiative as well as providing support to our Outpatient sites.
Join us in this work, whether for your own needs or for those of others.
With the support of United Way, agencies like Child Guidance Center are able to help youth in Northeast Florida have hope and reach their full potential. Through the power of partnerships, we ensure individuals and families have access to critical health resources to promote physical and mental well-being for all ages. To learn how you can join United Way in the fight for community change, visit unitedwaynefl.org/get-involved.