There has been a great deal of talk over the last 18 months about mental health, depression, anxiety and trauma and how they are affecting our lives.

There is no doubt this last year-and-a-half have been difficult. Many of us have faced challenges that were unexpected, life-changing and heartbreaking. My question for you is, “How can you create a county that cultivates positive mental health?”

Instead of just talking about mental health and using buzzwords we’ve all heard in the media, I challenge you to stand up and take action in a healthy, productive manner. In a manner that will promote positive mental health not only of those people in your own family, but in our community at large.

This month the Center for a Vital Community is hosting its next round of Study Circles for those of us in Sheridan County. The Study Circles are conversations that create community-led solutions on issues that affect all of us. This time the topic is mental health, and it couldn’t be more pertinent and important.

Last Wednesday was the kickoff event at Sheridan High School. Over the next five weeks, groups of people will form the circles and meet weekly to discuss various topics surrounding mental health. Anyone and everyone is welcome to participate in the Study Circles. There are numerous opportunities at different times and locations. Contact the CVC for more information. The end goal of the Study Circles is to move to action.

What can we as a county do?

There is a lot we can do together. One of the programs we are already using in Sheridan County is Sources of Strength. I have mentioned Sources of Strength countless times in my column over the past three years; the reason being it is a program that can be adapted for all of us. Currently 12 of our 18 schools in Sheridan County in all three school districts have Sources of Strength as part of their protective factors. The goal is to add the other six schools over the next year. Sources uses upstream prevention to increase protective factors and help- seeking behaviors.

If you would like to know more about Sources of Strength, please contact me at [email protected] Please join me in attending a study circle during the next five weeks. There is a place …….


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