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: Suzanne Dickson
Mental illness has greatly impacted the life of someone I love very much, it also impacts the life of everyone in her life and we certainly are not alone. NAMI statistics indicate that 1 in 4 Americans struggles with a mental illness, everyone knows someone who is struggling.
What initially made you want to volunteer with Keep Oregon Well?
I am extremely passionate about the objectives of Keep Oregon Well. I saw first hand the stigma that surrounded the mental illness that my loved one battles. Being a part of the Keep Oregon Well Street Team allows me to be a part of an impactful group and allows me be a voice to fight stigma.
For me, this volunteer work is a part of my own healing through taking part in something that can create change. I believe that our continued efforts will bring an awareness and greater acceptance, allowing individuals struggling with mental illness to say they have a mental illness just as they would diabetes and this is something that feels great to be a part of.
Tell me about your favorite volunteer experience?
Volunteering in my children’s schools when they were at the elementary age was extremely rewarding. Working with and getting to know their peers and positively impact those children was very fulfilling.
SE Sunday Parkways was my first volunteer opportunity with Keep Oregon Well. When asking people to pledge to be an advocate in the community I remember feeling like our community really embraced our cause, like someone just needed to speak up, and here we are!
Keep Oregon Well is centered around wellness and self-care. Tell us about some of the ways you take care of yourself.
I really make an effort to exercise outdoors regularly, meditation keeps me centered and I keep a gratitude journal that I write in daily. All of these things impact my wellness.
To close our chat today, do you have a favorite quote you would be willing to share?
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.