What a year 2020 has been…a year of extraordinary challenges and significant hardship and stress for so many due to the pandemic that has seemingly overtaken everything else in the world.
However, we have also seen more people talking about mental health than ever before, as we all see the impact that isolation, loneliness, stress, anxiety, and depression can have on our own lives, on our families, our employment, our overall health and wellness, and so much more.
At Mental Health Minnesota, that has led to a significant increase in our services. More than 20,000 people completed our online mental health screenings in 2020 (half of those were completed in the last three months). Use of our Mental Health Helpline, which provides information and referrals, has doubled since 2019. And people are calling our Minnesota Warmline for peer support in record numbers as well, with more than 13,000 calls and texts in 2020.
During this time of extraordinary challenges, we also saw an interest from those who want to help us move our mission forward. In 2020, we have a number of volunteers help make calls to connect with people who were socially isolated and struggling, and 100+ volunteer mental health professionals who have given their time to provide mental health support to health care workers, essential workers, teachers, parents, and others facing unprecedented stress.
In addition, we received increased or new grant support from Otto Bremer Trust, Blue Cross Blue Shield. ICare, FEMA/Minnesota Department of Human Services, Kohl’s Community Cares Program and both Dakota and Ramsey Counties. The financial support along with the generosity of donors, helped us ensure that we could meet the increased demand for our mental health services and supports in Minnesota.
As we close 2020, I want to thank everyone who has been a part of Mental Health Minnesota’s work this year. Whether you were a phone line volunteer or event attendee, whether you shared your story of recovery to help others, or connected someone in your life to our services, whether you held a Facebook fundraiser or made a donation to support our work – I thank you. I truly humbled by the generosity of our grant partners, collaborators, donors, and volunteers. I look forward to continuing our work together as we move into the next year. May we all look forward to brighter days ahead.
Shannah Mulvihill, MA, CFRE
Executive Director, Mental Health Minnesota