Most teens do not spend a great deal of time thinking about mental illness. Given the chance to make grants in the community one might expect them to choose a more “popular” cause. For Tina Clark, Director of Development and Community Relations at Tri-County Mental Health Services in Lewiston, being invited to submit an rfp to the JMG sophomores at Lewiston Regional Technical Center provided an opportunity to talk about the reality of mental illness and its impact on every age group.
“Whether we received the JOY funding or not, we were thrilled for the opportunity to meet young people and talk about services available in our community,” she explains. Tri-County offers services for people of all ages living with mental illness, recovering from traumatic events, or just needing support to get through life challenges. “To receive a grant was a bonus, it speaks to how far we have come in reducing stigma and gives us hope that young people who need help will not hesitate to seek it out,” she says. The grant was used to support basic needs for young clients and their families that are not funded by other sources, such as clothing, books, perhaps dues to join a club. Tina concludes, “We often say that our work offers hope and these young people have given us hope for a future free of judgment and stigma.”