View Newspaper Group, with the support of our community partners, released our first Help & Hope Lapeer County mental health resource guide in December 2020 in response to the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on mental health needs in the Lapeer County. We continued this effort last summer with a Help & Hope pocket guide that was sponsored by the Lapeer County Community Foundation. Both pieces were mailed to over 30,000 Lapeer County homes in the Lapeer area with additional copies distributed through our partnerships. Although we did not believe at the time that mental health needs would simply disappear as the pandemic receded, we believed that we would see the end, or at least the beginning of the end, of COVID-19 long before now. Unfortunately, it is not the case. And as the pandemic continues, so do the elevated mental health issues of stress, loneliness, fear, anxiety and hopelessness brought about or exacerbated by the pandemic.
The good news is that our county has many resources for citizens struggling to deal with these issues. The bad news is that people don’t know how to access these resources or are reluctant to do so due to the stigma of mental illness or simply seeking help of any kind.
Recognizing that heightened mental health issues and associated stigma persist in Lapeer County, our team has decided to produce an updated edition of Help & Hope that will be mailed directly to Lapeer County homes this Friday inside from Lapeer Area View.
The updated edition includes a comprehensive list of local resources along with practical advice on how to access these services. An article by contributing writer Krystal Moralee about a new organization known as Hashtag Hope, founded by a group of people with a common goal of making a difference in the lives of Lapeer County residents struggling with addiction , is also included.
Again this year, we approached potential sponsors to invest in our efforts to gather information, design graphics, print and distribute Help & Hope. We have been overwhelmed by the commitment we have received from a diverse group of businesses, non-profit organizations, government agencies and the educational community.
Our community partners for the updated edition of Help & Hope, and whose logos will appear on the last page of this edition, are: Blackburn Chapel/Martin Funeral Home, The Chatfield School, ChoiceOne Bank, City of Lapeer Police Department, Cypress Integration Solutions, ELGA Credit Union, Human Development Commission, Jim Riehl’s Friendly Automotive Group, Kapala Heating & Air Conditioning, Lapeer County Community Mental Health, Lapeer County Intermediate School District, Lapeer County Sheriff’s Office, McLaren Health Management Group, McLaren Lapeer Region, Mott Community College, Tri-County Equipment and Warren Systems Heating & Cooling.
Our sincere thanks go to each of our community partners for making the Help & Hope update possible. Their partnership in this project reflects the commitment of so many across Lapeer County to help and support our neighbors in need.
We have commented frequently in our editorials on the generosity and compassion of Lapeer County citizens, businesses and organizations. We know County Press readers and advertisers often take the lead in this area. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to peruse our updated Help & Hope guide when it arrives in your mailbox and think about who you might know and who might benefit from its content. Conversations about mental health or seeking help can be difficult. But sometimes the best thing we can do for a neighbor in need is to persuade them that it’s okay to ask for help and point them in the right direction.
Thanks for the reading The county press.
—Wes Smith, editor