This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency
Mental Health With Women and the Atlanta Women’s Foundation
Meet Fran (name changed for privacy). Fran is a hard working woman and mother of 3. She works a full-time job that pays well and even has benefits. Yet, as a single mom; it is rarely enough. Fran has lost her apartment many times due to not having enough for rent. Or her family has gone without electricity for months. At times, they have even struggled to have food on the table.
Added to the money struggle is the fact that Fran has mental illness/depression. But she doesn’t see the symptoms in herself and instead of getting the help she needs, she drinks.
Fran’s story is one of many. Women who live in poverty are twice as likely to suffer from mental illness than women not living in poverty. Why? Women in poverty experience stress, grief, and depression without the resources or networks to support their mental health needs.
Atlanta Women’s Foundation
Atlanta Women’s Foundation held a recent luncheon to discuss the need for mental health awareness. In fact, this was their biggest fundraising event of the season! The title was Numbers 2 Big To Ignore. Their goal? To raise funds to help break the cycle of generational poverty in Atlanta. Yes Atlanta, we have a problem. 81,000 girls and 320,000 women live in poverty in the five-county metro area. In 2013, a Georgia study of the Atlanta Metro area (DeKalb and Fulton Counties) found, of the women identified with mental health disorders, 19.4% made less than $20,000 annually. Numbers truly too big to ignore.
Atlanta Women’s Foundation wants things to change. Atlanta Women’s Foundation is the only public foundation in Georgia dedicated solely to women and girls. They have invested more than $13 million into over 250 Atlanta area non-profit organizations that have successfully moved women and girls from poverty to economic self-sufficiency. In addition to local grantmaking, AWF produces programs, builds awareness and supports public policy in order to leverage community resources to break the cycle of generational poverty.
With the change in rising from poverty is still the need for mental health awareness and support. The Atlanta Women’s Foundation invited guest speaker Jane Pauley, who shared her own battles with mental illness. She explained how at age 50 she suddenly showed symptoms of bipolar disorder. Jane expressed how she was lucky to have the financial means and different resources available to help. This is the goal to get all woman-the help they need.
NOT TO BE ASHAMED
Mental illness is not something to be ashamed of or to hide from. It is serious and more common than many think. I myself have depression. The stress of having a special needs child to care for and the fact that my family history is filled with depression, caught up with me this past year. I was crying for no reason. I would just want to sleep and hide in my bed. Going out to events and enjoying time with my children, something I loved to do; changed to just the thought would lead me to have a breakdown.
Because of my family history, I knew the signs. I was tired of crying all the time and didn’t want my children seeing me like that. So I called my doctor and went in. We spoke about what was going on and I was given medication to take daily.
Thanks to the resources I had available, I was able to get help. This help is what Atlanta Women’s Foundation is determined to get all women. Here’s another number that was shared as too small to ignore: $98.00. That’s the amount it costs for a woman in poverty to get a mental health screening. Attendees to the luncheon were encouraged to donate and you can too. Please consider any donation to the Atlanta Women’s Foundation and visit here: http://atlantawomen.org/get-involved/give/