Keep Oregon Well is a public advocacy campaign designed to reduce stigma surrounding mental and behavioral health, build a trauma-informed community, and give people the opportunity to learn more about mental health and stand with those struggling with theirs.

This ongoing volunteer spotlight blog series features some of the many caring, talented, passionate people it takes to spread the word about Keep Oregon Well throughout Oregon!

Keep Oregon Well Volunteer Spotlight: Anneka Wedell

Why does mental health matter to you?

There are countless friends, family, and so many more that I know who are impacted by a vast array of mental health issues. Throughout my own life I have struggled with anxiety and depression. These experiences and connections have revealed the significance of mental health and critical role it plays in our daily lives. Mental health deserves as much attention as the rest of our body requires because they are interlinked. By helping the community as a whole and initiating more conversations about mental health then the stigma around the issue could change enabling more people to receive the help they need sooner instead of later.

What initially made you want to volunteer with Keep Oregon Well or Trillium?

Trillium Family Services helped me profoundly during more difficult times; ultimately helping me be where I am today. This compelled me to give back to a community that changed my life. Eager to help out I contacted Shanin and began to do office work behind the scenes. Every task and project I do is my way of  helping others while saying thank you in a quiet way.

Tell me about your favorite volunteer experience?

Since I have started volunteering I have gotten to be a part of so many amazing experiences and events. However, I loved volunteering at Christmas time and helping with gift wrapping. It was incredible to see all the donations come through and how this can give other kids and families a special Christmas experience too. It’s also inspiring to be around other volunteers who take this work seriously and understand the significance of mental health.

Keep Oregon Well is centered around wellness and self-care. Tell us about some of the ways you take care of yourself. 

For me one of the most important things I can do to take care of myself is getting enough sleep. Although this sounds like a no-brainer, it actually wasn’t something I realized until a year and a half ago. Additionally, dancing (ballet and lyrical/jazz), working out, writing, baking, and spending quality time talking to close friends and family are ways I take time for myself. I also spend hours reading which is one of my favorite and most calming ways of regrouping.

To close our chat today, do you have a favorite quote you would be willing to share?

For someone who has a journal full of favorite quotes choosing one is challenging. One quote that stands out to me is “When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower” (Alexander Den Heijer) . I love this quote because it embodies the approach one needs when addressing mental health. Every person is a different flower and not everyone will flourish in the same environment. People, unlike flowers, don’t come with guides on the ideal environment and attention needed. However, when we take the time to listen, observe, and converse we can find ways to adapt and help more people blossom towards possibility.