Gov. Brownback proclaims January as Support Group Awareness Month

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback proclaimed January as Support Group Awareness Month in a signing ceremony on Thursday, Jan. 10 in Topeka. As stated in the proclamation, support groups have been recognized nationally and internationally as an efficient, practical, cost-effective means of coping with life crises and physical and mental health care concerns. There are hundreds of organizations across the state that offer support groups on a variety of topics. Groups gather around many medical conditions, parenting, caregiving, grief, and a variety of other topics. One organization in the Kansas City area that offers support groups is Mental Health America of the Heartland. “Support groups provide an opportunity for people to reach out to others and benefit from those who have experienced similar situations,” said Stacy Davis, director of mental health promotion with Mental Health America of the Heartland. “Facilitators provide a source of support by offering useful tools for coping with life’s challenges.” In Kansas, more than 3,000 community support groups, national organizations and websites provide help for a broad range of specific issues. “It is very exciting to have the governor recognize the importance of support groups as a supplement to health and human services in Kansas,” said Angela Gaughan, support group services project specialist at Wichita State University Center for Community Support and Research. “I constantly visit with people who are looking to make a connection with a support group in their community or who lead and organize groups around specific issues.” Contact information for support groups can be accessed online at www.supportgroupsinkansas.org or by calling (800) 445-0116 or (316) 978-3843 in Kansas.

The photo includes (l to r) Suz McIver, director of supportive care, Midland Care, Topeka; Stacy Davis, director of mental health promotion, Mental Health America of the Heartland, Kansas City; Sheli Sweeny, advocacy and member services coordinator, Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas Inc., Topeka; Kelly Potter, forensics coordinator, Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, Topeka; Randy Johnson, mental health consumer initiatives project manager, Wichita State University Center for Community Support and Research, Wichita; Angela Gaughan, support group services project specialist, Wichita State University Center for Community Support and Research, Wichita and Governor Brownback.

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