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May is Mental Health Awareness Month 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This is a time to raise awareness of and reduce the stigma surrounding mental and behavioral health issues. It is also an opportunity to acknowledge how mental health impacts all of us – families, neighbors, and our society at large.  

The Idaho Foodbank’s mission is about more than just providing food. We also collaborate and engage with community partners and members to promote health across the state. As an organization, we have an intentional focus on health.  

People often find themselves in the position of making difficult decisions when they are food insecure. This can result in eating foods with low nutritional value, which can make them vulnerable to chronic health conditions. It can also lead people to skip or delay health care appointments.  We know that food insecurity is a stressor. When our neighbors are dealing with mental health issues, that can sometimes compound the other challenges they might be facing around their health, access to food, and economic stability. 

This month we have been working with Optum Idaho to spotlight the importance of a person’s whole health, which includes mental health and access to nutritious food. You can learn more from this conversation with Karen Vauk, President and CEO of The Idaho Foodbank, and Dr. Dennis Woody with Optum Idaho. 

We are continuing to find ways to share information and resources about mental health with our Food Distribution Partners. This has included training at our partner conferences so they can learn more about mental health challenges in their community, sharing mental health resources for children with our school partners, and sharing flyers and information about 988, the Crisis and Suicide Hotline. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, you can call or text 988 at any time to reach the Crisis and Suicide Hotline

We cannot end hunger alone and our partnerships with organizations all over Idaho are a vital part of the work to interrupt the cycle of food insecurity and improve the lives of all of our neighbors.