In 2010, a group of concerned individuals in the Jewish community began a frank conversation about mental illness, suicide and our community’s response to grief and loss. The result was the formation of the Jewish Community Mental Health Coalition made up of Jewish Family Services, the Rabbinical Association of Greater Kansas City, and a dedicated group of volunteers.
The Coalition’s campaign to reduce the stigma of mental illness was launched in September 2013 in the Jewish community but interest quickly grew beyond the targeted area.
In May 2014, following many conversations and meetings among local and state mental health professionals, social service organizations and mental health advocacy groups, more than a dozen community organizations came together to build on what was begun in the Jewish community by creating the Greater Kansas City Mental Health Coalition (GKCMHC). This new Coalition, under the leadership of Jewish Family Services, will pool resources and expertise to reduce the stigma of mental illness throughout our community.
The Greater Kansas City Mental Health Coalition wants to start a conversation in our community. It is our hope that the reduction of stigma associated with mental illness will follow a similar reduction of stigma that occurred with cancer in the 1960s and 1970s and with AIDS/HIV in the 1990s.