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 on: Teresa Burns

Why does mental health matter to you?

I want to start by thanking you for honoring me with the volunteer spotlight. It has been my pleasure to volunteer for Keep Oregon Well and Trillium Family Services.  Good mental health is very important to me. I have struggled with mental illness my whole life. I have also had friends and family who have also had to deal with mental health problems. It is important to me to help get rid of the stigma that surrounds mental illness and educate people on how to communicate with their family and friends and the stranger on the street about their illness. I am so excited to able to start having this conversation about mental health. After much work on my own mental illness I realized you need to have good  mental health to have a good physical health. Also I have found that loving yourself and good mental health go hand in hand.

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

I was so excited when I realized there was a organization that wanted to get rid of the stigma that surrounds mental and behavioral illnesses. Volunteering for Keep Oregon Well and Trillium Family Services is my way of giving back to all the people who were there for me when I needed them the most. I see this is a opportunity to do what I have always wanted to do:  let people know those who suffer from mental illness are not someone to be afraid of or looked down on . Mental illness is no different then any other chronic diseases. Helping out with Trillium and working with the kids is amazing. To see children getting help early brings me hope that they will have a wonderful, fulfilling, long life. Learning coping skill early is the key.

Tell me about your favorite volunteer experience?

My favorite volunteer experience was the Out of the Darkness run. The people I volunteered with were wonderful. This event was special to me because I have lost friends and family to suicide and have also struggled in the past with it myself. Seeing so many people supporting each other was heart warming and brought me hope.

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

Self-care is very important. I make sure I get out of the house everyday. I also have found making lists if helpful for me. Exercising and trying to eat healthy each day is important. Taking care of my grandson and volunteering are great therapy for me.

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

A friend of mine shared with me something she wrote. I read it when I wake in the morning.

“Look at today with renewed strength and a positive attitude. Life is glorious if you embrace this day and look forward to what adventuress await you.”

It puts a smile on my face and I’m ready to see what adventures are coming my way.

Thank you visiting with me and letting share my experiences with you. Volunteering for Keep Oregon Well and Trillium Family Services is a privilege for me. I look forward to volunteering and helping fight the stigma that surrounds mental and behavioral health for many years to come.


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