I was fortunate enough to recently attend a charity event hosted by Henderson Behavioral Health of Broward County and it hit me like a ton of bricks when, midway through the presentations, ten people of various races, creeds, genders, ages, sizes and shapes walked out onto the venue. Members of this group held some of these placards:

war vet

Nova student

Henderson provided forever home

My first thought: Wow! What a move to introduce a well-heeled audience to people affected by mental illness, household disintegration and substance abuse. It doesn’t seem to be done at these types of fund raising events. As a society, we prefer to keep that type of information in the background and focus on the task at hand: silent auctions, salsa dancing and grand social discourse.

And what struck me the most was how similar these people were to the people in my life that I hold dear…my brothers, sisters, father, mother, nieces, nephews, and friends far and wide.

Sometimes we lose sight that in the Health and Human Services Community we help people just like ourselves. Walk into a Methadone clinic at 5 am on a weekday morning in Baltimore, New York, San Diego or Burlington, Vermont, and you find working people…people managing their addiction and recovery while sustaining life for themselves and their families.

“They” are “us”!

I am proud to work for a company like Netsmart that recognizes the work of organizations like Henderson Behavioral Health and more so because the work is important and touches all of us; often very close to home. Perhaps that is why COMMUNITY has always been such an important part of the Community Mental Health Center.