As uncertainty lingers, supporting mental health and emotional well-being remains vital
JFCS’ 33rd Annual Benefit Fund-a-Need will raise money for programs that provide support for mental health and emotional well-being
As we approach the two-year mark of living with an evolving pandemic, we continue to struggle with what the future holds. The release of vaccines in the spring gave us renewed hope of going back to normal. However, when the Delta variant of COVID-19 started its spread, rather than going back to “normal,” it seems we are constantly waiting for the “next normal,” with no idea of what that will mean.
In addition to the devastating physical toll the pandemic has taken on the country, the emotional toll has affected everyone. For those living with mental health challenges, depression and anxiety has often intensified and become even more debilitating. Stress, fear, loneliness, isolation, uncertainty, loss, and sadness have affected millions. We worry about the health and emotional well-being of our parents and children, as well as our own health, jobs and financial stability. We worry about staying connected to family, friends and our community. We are unsure about the future.
Mental health challenges have been on the rise for individuals of all backgrounds and socioeconomic status due to lingering effects of COVID-19, social unrest and racial injustice. Accordingly, the importance of mental health has been a national and global focus these past couple years. One benefit of this focus is there has been a reduction in stigma associated with reaching out for help.
JFCS programs and services, provided by our highly trained professional staff, help support mental health and emotional well-being for all in our community. These services have been here throughout the pandemic – and as the need for them has increased – it is critical they continue to be available for all who turn to us now and in the future.
With a full spectrum of programs and services to address individual needs with confidentiality and boundless compassion, we have the resources to respond to multiple needs that may present themselves. For everyone who turns to JFCS with mental health challenges, our staff serves them holistically, providing resources that address the individual as a whole and helps them move toward healing.
The 33rd Annual Benefit Fund-a-Need will support JFCS programs and services that provide mental health and emotional well-being support, resources and education. Get your Annual Benefit tickets here and help support this important cause. For those who can’t attend the Benefit, you can still make a donation.
JFCS services supporting mental health and well-being
Counseling and Mental Health Services
Our highly skilled, licensed therapists, social workers, and case managers work with care and compassion to address the challenges people face throughout their lives, including those unique to this year. Throughout the pandemic, our staff provided confidential teletherapy and virtual meetings with clients, maintaining critical ongoing care and support for current and new clients. Therapists at JFCS are currently seeing fully-vaccinated clients, or those with a recent negative test, masked in-person and also providing online therapy to all. Our services are confidential.
Annual Conference on Mental Health
The Annual Conference on Mental Health is a collaborative effort to raise awareness, provide education, and reduce the stigma of mental illness in all segments of the Twin Cities Jewish community. Now more than ever, providing this free and open to all conference is critical to our community. Almost 400 people attended this year’s conference in October. By offering the full conference virtually, it provided the same education and support to the local community and beyond, eliminating barriers for participation.
Children and Family Programs
Our many programs for children and families strive to provide the tools and support needed to live stable and engaged lives. Throughout the pandemic, topics on parenting, grief and loss and other challenges directly related to COVID-19, social unrest and racial injustice were made available to all, shared through ongoing articles, parenting tips, custom consultations and more.
Our Career Services empower people to explore and identify their visions of career success, including access to, or support for career training. Throughout the past year, as people struggled with the stress of job loss and household income reduction, JFCS certified professionals continued to safely provide complete career assistance, including résumé development, social media strategies, interviewing skills, networking opportunities and more.
Senior Services support the dignity and independent living of older adults, and provide resources, education and respite for caregivers. Throughout the pandemic, our staff have continued personalized safe service delivery to help reduce isolation, providing medication, food, and Kosher Meals on Wheels, safe, reliable and personalized transportation, and caregiver coaching and counseling.
J-Pride’s mission is to engage Minnesota-based LGBTQ+ Jews and their allies to come together for social events, community gatherings, celebrations, and educational opportunities. Throughout the pandemic, J-Pride continued to provide safe and innovative gatherings to connect, celebrate Jewish holidays, and process events and issues around social unrest. Ongoing programming provided connection, reduced isolation and stress relief for participants.
NextGen provides opportunities for young adults ages 21-36 to develop leadership skills and deepen connections to JFCS and its mission through social and volunteer experiences and philanthropy. These opportunities to engage, connect with each other and support the community were maintained throughout the pandemic through safe and creative ways, reducing isolation and creating meaningful, supportive connections.
Caring Connections provides opportunities for Jewish adults with developmental disabilities to take part in social and educational events and learn about Jewish holidays and traditions. In addition to hosting safe outdoor and virtual events, program staff made safely-distanced, in-person visits (as well as virtual) to individual participants throughout the pandemic. Virtual events eliminated barriers to participation, maintained connections to each other and the Jewish community, and reduced isolation for participants.
Hag Sameach helps ensure that people in our community who are in need of extra assistance, during the winter holidays, Passover, and throughout the rest of the year, have a resource for holiday gifts and essential items. At a time when so many are facing economic challenges, the number of individuals and families in need of this program continues to increase. Being able to celebrate the holidays in a meaningful way reduces anxiety, depression and isolation.