Our board and staff decided to embark on this bold decision to make a 20 year commitment to mental health and addiction because these issues deeply need our time and attention. West Virginia and Ohio have the worst mortality rates of
diseases of despair
, such as suicide, alcoholic liver disease, and drug overdose. As a community, we need to change this reality.
Serving our dear neighbors is a commitment we made to our communities," SHF Board President Arlene Borkowski said. "We are committing the SHF resources in the area of mental health and addiction for years into the future because these issues affect all of us."
These two issues have far-reaching ripple effects: in schools, the food security network, healthcare systems, the foster care system, the workforce, and most importantly, the lives of our family and friends whom we love. There are no other issues in our grantmaking portfolio that touch every aspect of our vision of "healthy people in healthy communities" so deeply and directly as do mental health and addiction.
As Executive Director Renee Steffen states, "We know we cannot fully address the complexity of these issues in 1, 2, or even 5 years. We need to stick with these issues for the long haul to make an impact."