Addressing Mental Health

…a message from Executive Director Marsha Eichelberger

Our mission at Inter-Faith isn’t just to give families a place to stay, it’s to give them the life skills and tools they need to attain permanent self-sufficiency. While in our program, families learn things like financial literacy, effective parenting skills, and how to navigate the increasingly complex social services system, among so much more. Our offerings grow and change as we see trends emerge and needs that must be met, so we can work with our community to end family homelessness.

One of the needs we’ve long hoped to address is mental health. There’s such stigma and shame attached to mental health, a fact that has always frustrated me. Nearly two-thirds of people with a known mental illness never seek treatment, which is detrimental to them, their families, and their community. People living in poverty are at an increased risk for mental illness—especially given the instability, lack of support systems, and levels of anxiety they deal with. In fact, a recent Inter-Faith survey showed that well over half of our residents are managing a diagnosed mental illness like depression, anxiety, and bipolar or personality disorders.

Everyone in our program has expressed interest in mental health services, but they often don’t know where to begin.

That’s why we’re very excited about our newest program. Starting this fall, MSW graduate student interns will provide on-site services for adults and adolescents in emergency shelter, as well as those in Hope Gardens and Hope Forest. As part of this program, we will also be offering proven mental health training for volunteers so they are better equipped to support our families and the broader community. Stay tuned for more details! We couldn’t be more grateful to the VNA Foundation of North Penn for helping us make this commitment to a healthier community in every way.

There is no single cure for the ills of the world, but I know we are at our best when we support and lift each other. Thank you for always doing just that.

Executive Director Marsha Eichelberger