A model for St. Louis?

In the greater Kansas City area, the Kansas City Rabbinical Association and the Jewish Family Services collaborated in 2010 to create the Jewish Community Mental Health Coalition (JCMHC). They began with a frank conversation about mental illness, suicide and their community’s response to grief and loss. 

The JCMHC campaign to reduce the stigma of mental illness was formally launched in September 2013, and targeted to the Jewish community.  The campaign message was:  “Mental Illness: It’s real. It’s common. It’s treatable. And it’s OK to talk about it. Start the conversation today.”

That coalition has grown since into 19 constituent agencies. It is working to break the shame barrier on mental illness. Take a look www.itsok.us.

The Kansas City effort all started with a few people, a couple of small organizations, some guts and a lot of commitment. We could learn something from our counterparts across the state. I’ve been in touch with some of the organizers and founders of that effort and we are moving forward with a proto-strategy for the St. Louis area.