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: Kendra Jacobson

Why does mental health matter to you?
Mental health matters because without the coping tools we all need day to day life can be very difficult. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety over the years and through working with psychologists and doctors I have been able to get the help I needed. Everyone needs access to this type of help at one point or another in their lives, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of, so it feels very personal to me.

What initially made you want to volunteer with Keep Oregon Well or Trillium?I’ve been volunteering with my dog Holly in mental health facilities for several years, I used to focus on working with adults, but have always enjoyed working with teens and children. So when the opportunity came up to bring Holly in with the kids it felt like a perfect fit.
Holly loves coming to visit the kids. If I say, “Wanna go see the kids?” she loses all chill immediately. She runs around barking at me and pawing at the door, and she runs from the car to the gate where she gets let in. And if you’ve met Holly she’s generally pretty pokey. So I know she loves it as much as I do.

Tell me about your favorite volunteer experience?
I get the biggest kick out of self care day. It’s really fun to see the kids being social with each other and with the volunteers, we get to interact with about 20 different people and each interaction is special in it’s own way. Holly loves all the attention and the kids have time to do exactly what they want. Many of the best experiences have been just sitting on the floor with a kid and petting Holly and talking. A seemingly throw away moment always feels really special, and I’m always so happy when the kids want to visit us.

Keep Oregon Well is centered around wellness and self-care. Tell us about some of the ways you take care of yourself.
I’m really big into self care, for so many years I put everyone before myself, and I really learned to not do that. I am still working on unplugging from screens a few hours every day. I love to take Holly on walks around the neighborhood or hikes out in nature. I usually pick at least one day a week to give myself a few hours to do exactly what I want on my won, put down the to do list and read, or go to a movie, or a splurgey spa day.

To close our chat today, do you have a favorite quote you would be willing to share?
“Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.” – Brene Brown
“Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we’re all in this together.” -Brene Brown