Over the last few years, it seems that not a week goes by, without hearing about a shooting, brutal attack, bullying situation, suicide or some other horrific event that many of us have a hard time understanding. How do we explain it to our children? How do we prevent our children from experiencing these unimaginable events themselves? How do we prevent them from happing locally, in our own community?
To start with, it is important to try to find commonalities in these situations. Some think it is related to laws in our great country, or laws in our state and or community. Some think it is education. Some think it is around the accountability many of us have as parents. These all certainly play into the debate. The piece of the puzzle that keeps the Staff and Board of Directors awake at night, surrounds mental health. Mental health has been an area that has seen budget cuts over the past recent years, and while there is no definite correlation to the number of horrific events, it is certainly easy to see an increase in events during a decrease in funding.
At Family and Community Services of Somerset County, we strive to provide mental health assistance to our friends, neighbors and family members in Somerset County. This cannot be done “in a vacuum”. It needs to be done as part of a team. The staff members and board of directors partner to raise funds so that those who cannot afford it, can receive it. We try to partner with local community leaders, such as religious leaders, politicians and others, in order to make people aware of the services available. And, importantly, we try to partner with members of the local community, to help fund the agency. The agency cannot survive without grants, financial support, and volunteer efforts.
Thank you to everyone that has helped Family and Community Services of Somerset County survive during an economic downturn the past few years. Your generosity with your time, financial support, and enthusiasm has helped our entire community. Remember, helping our community, helps our friends, neighbors and family members, here in our own backyard, in Somerset County. Let’s continue to work together to find ways to prevent these senseless acts, both nationally, as well as in our own backyard!
– Howard Hessel, Family & Community Services Board President