Tuesday proclaimed Minority Mental Health Awareness Day in Wichita

Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple presented Miss Kansas' Teen Erin Rolfe with a proclamation declaring Minority Mental Health Awareness Day in Wichita.
Published: Jul. 12, 2023 at 11:55 AM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A proclamation made during the Wichita City Council meeting on Tuesday declares July 11, 2023, Minority Mental Health Awareness Day.

Mental health is the platform for Miss Kansas’ Teen Erin Rolfe. She was joined by the Beta Kappa Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and HopeNet Wichita, a faith-based non-profit in Wichita that provides professional mental health and wellness services.

“July is actually Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, and it’s designated to raise awareness and educate the public about unique struggles that racial and ethnic minority communities face regarding mental illness,” said Rolfe. “With my proclamation, I want to encourage the community and you all to donate to and volunteer with mental health organizations that support minority mental health.”

HopeNet, a faith-based non-profit in Wichita that provides professional mental well-being services, said it's important for everyone to have access to care.

Jo Lynn Bright, Director of Community Impact at HopeNet, said she’s familiar with the struggles that can be faced in recognizing and seeking help for mental health.

“I think what’s important about today and this month is to say, ‘how can we take another step to break the stigma?’ You just associate it with minorities accessing services for mental health or even getting help that’s not maybe even professional help but reaching out to say that ‘something’s not quite right with me right now, and who can I tell?’” Bright.

HopeNet and its donors seek to make mental health services affordable for the community. Bright said services are offered on a sliding scale. She said the average cost is about $25 an hour for services.

“When we think about minority mental health, we want to make sure it doesn’t mean that you’re not able. We don’t want to put anybody in a class saying ‘you’re less than,’ but the thing is, how many people are able to actually afford professional counseling?” Bright said.

HopeNet is located at 2501 E. Central, at the intersection of Central and Grove. Bright said along with being affordable, the non-profit focuses on being accessible.

“It’s a blessing to be able to have a place like HopeNet that will offer professional services where people can actually get to the heart of the city versus on the fringes,” said Bright. “I even think about people in rural America that may be watching this, listening to us. “Where do you get that help without traveling?”

To learn more about Minority Mental Health Awareness Month and HopeNet visit https://www.hopenetwichita.org/