May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the Mental Health Association of Nebraska, along with the Lancaster County Prevention Coalition and Tobacco Free Lancaster County are teaming up for the Green Light Project NE.

It aims to increase awareness around mental health, reduce stigma, and encourage conversations by lighting homes and businesses in Lincoln and Lancaster County in green, displaying yard signs, and sharing resources through social media.

One in five Americans experiences a mental health condition each year, and almost half of the population will face a diagnosable disorder in their lifetime according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Sadly, despite the prevalence of mental health challenges, stigma and shame often prevent people from seeking support.

Mental health is critical to our overall well-being and a shared experience that affects everyone, yet it is often overlooked or stigmatized. Experts say open conversations about mental health are crucial to creating a more supportive community.

Those experiencing mental illness can access services provided by community resources like the MHA. The MHA provides a wide range of services that follow the Intentional Peer Support Model.

Intentional peer support is a way of thinking about and inviting transformative relationships. MHA Peers have learned to use relationships to see things from new angles, and support and challenge each other and those in the community in trying new things. Peers can offer guidance in finding community resources that align with a person’s situation and needs.

Managing daily life can be difficult for those experiencing mental illness or chronic stress. They may use unhealthy coping mechanisms like tobacco or other substance use to alleviate their symptoms. While it may seem like these solutions provide relief, they are ineffective treatments that intensify symptoms over time.

We all know someone who has been affected by a mental health issue. The Green Light Project NE is an opportunity to come together as a community to support mental health awareness and encourage others to do the same. You can participate by adding green lights to your home or business, displaying yard signs, or sharing social media posts with the hashtag #GreenLightProjectNE.

Light bulbs and yard signs are available at no cost at each of these partner locations while supplies last:

  • LLCHD, 3131 “O” St., second floor
  • Region V Systems, 1645 “N” St.

For more information on heart-to-heart conversations and other tools and resources, visit www.talkheart2heart.org.

The Nebraska Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW and TobaccoFreeLancasterCounty.org offer valuable resources and information to support quitting tobacco.

The MHA has two warmlines available. They are the Keya Warmline at 402-261-5959 and the Honu Warmline at 402-975-2032. Warmlines are for people not in immediate crisis but seeking support or someone to talk to. Anyone in Nebraska needing support can call and talk to an Intentional Peer Support Specialist 24/7, 365 days a year. To talk with an Intentional Peer Support Specialist in-person or to learn more about programs and services available, call the main office at 402-441-4371 weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

To learn more about the Green Light Project NE and access mental health resources, please visit https://mha-ne.org/how-to-help/greenlightprojectne.html.

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