Each year, HSITAG participates in charitable giving campaigns to raise awareness and contribute to various social causes that impact health and human services programs and initiatives. HSITAG recently focused on mental health awareness as part of #HSITAGGivesBack.

HSITAG’s charitable giving campaigns seek to support causes that impact the organizations that deal directly with human services, making mental health a key area of focus. Acknowledging the importance of addressing and supporting mental health awareness, contributions from the summer’s campaign went to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization. Through these fundraising efforts, HSITAG is thrilled to announce that we surpassed our goal and raised over $3,800 in donations.

“As HSITAG supports public sector technology leaders in the health and human services realm, we want to ensure that we are also bringing awareness to important health issues that shape our communities and the work we do,” said Jennifer Saha, Executive Director of HSITAG. “We are so grateful for the generosity and efforts of our members who continuously do their part to contribute and assist these pivotal causes.”

Furthering this cause and our mission to serve as a collaborative source of knowledge, education outreach and guidance to improve the delivery of human service programs within government, we find it important to continue sharing information on mental health. NAMI provides recent statistics on mental health in America:

  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people ages 10-34
  • 50% of all life-time mental illness begins at age 14. 64% by age 24.
  • People with depression have a 40% higher risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic disease than the general population and people with serious mental illness are nearly twice as likely to develop these conditions.
  • 1 in 5 US adults experience mental illness
  • 1 in 20 adults experience serious mental illness each year
  • 1 in 6 US youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health condition

With this information in mind, we encourage our members and readers to check-in with themselves and prioritize their mental health needs. To effectively educate and provide guidance on the delivery of human services programs, it is critical that we understand the depth of these causes and promote healthy communication around topics that have been historically stigmatized and underreported. The first step in advancing this essential cause and reaching a deeper understanding begins with YOU.

 

Author

  • Karen Rewalt is a HSITAG Board Member and serves as Offering Leader, Government Health and Human Services Social Program Management at IBM.