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A nurse in Metro Detroit, Barb has seen firsthand how mental health affects individuals in the community. She was motivated to provide her support for Kadima by a close friend serving on Kadima’s board of directors whose adult children were coping with mental health challenges. She began her service on the Healthy Body Healthy Mind committee and later joined the board. She also serves on the Tyler Howard Mini Golf Classic and Gardening committees.

Written By: Barb Schwartz

Barb headShotMental health is an issue affecting us all, whether it is you personally, a family member, a friend or a “friend of a friend.” One of the biggest problems in mental health is silence and stigma. It’s not easy to reach out, and many suffer in silence.

I lost a nephew to mental illness a few years ago, and friends of mine live with these challenges in their immediate families every day. I really believe there are more people than we know coping with mental health issues day after day, and I’m alarmed by the number of suicides in our country.

With these challenges, made even more difficult by limited funding options, I am proud of the way Kadima takes care of members of our community. Kadima is an organization anyone can call for resources and a place to come together. For example, the Activity Center creates a place where people with mental health issues can get involved with others in activities like art, sports and music groups to build community, feel included and be proud of who they are.

And we are planning for the future. The Legacy Society was recently established, which I hope will help Kadima provide more staff-led and independent homes. We are making efforts to move to a “Clubhouse” model, which will make a big difference for Kadima, those we serve and those who will seek support in the future. I also see a possibility of joining with other organizations to further our reach of services in the community.

The more Kadima can expand its reach in the community, so people know there is a place for them, I believe we can overcome stigma and isolation. I hope and pray in my heart that within the next 35 years Kadima will be able to serve our community on a larger scale. Working together, we can provide a better life for community members living with mental illness through socialization, employment, improved health, productivity and independence. I believe we are on our way!