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Resilient KC Aims to Increase Mental Health Awareness

Mental Health Awareness with Resilient KC

Earlier this month, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and Trauma Matters KC launched Resilient KC, an initiative aimed at building healthy lives after childhood adversity. The group hopes to raise awareness regarding trauma, break down the stigma of mental health challenges, and build a healthy and resilient community.

KVC Hospitals, a nonprofit organization that provides trauma-informed psychiatric care to thousands of children, teens and adults each year, is helping to lead the initiative. Two KVC representatives are members of the steering committee: James Roberson, vice president of program services for KVC Hospitals, and Astra Garner, director of clinical services and community outreach for KVC Prairie Ridge Hospital in Kansas City, Kansas. Garner serves on the education workgroup which is scheduling training and learning opportunities for community members, nonprofits, educational providers and business leaders. Roberson is chairing the resiliency action team, which is focused on uniting community partners to shape the dialogue around healthy child development. The team is also creating opportunities to build resiliency for youth at risk of exposure to childhood adversity.

The History of the Initiative

The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce describes Trauma Matters KC as “a multi-sector, multi-system, bi-state 40-agency network comprised of health care professionals, law enforcement officials, educators, mental health organizations, government officials, military personnel, persons with lived experience and community groups, among others.”

The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce created the Resilient KC initiative through their Healthy KC initiative which was unveiled in 2013. Healthy KC is a program aimed at promoting the wellbeing of citizens in the Kansas City area. It exists as a partnership between the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, as well as numerous regional health and wellness leaders.

“Kansas City human service organizations have the know-how to help families prosper. Resilient KC is going to help us align our efforts with what research and science is telling us about the connection between adversity and long-term negative health outcomes, as well as how resiliency can buffer the negative impact and support wellbeing. This project supports the creation of strong, stable communities, which benefits everyone in the greater Kansas City area,” said James Roberson, vice president of KVC Hospitals and chair of the community focused workgroup for Resilient KC.

According to the Greater KC Chamber’s website the same year HealthyKC was unveiled, a bistate Healthy KC Commission identified five focus areas to promote healthy behaviors: Healthy Eating, Active Living, Workplace Wellness, Tobacco Cessation anreselient kcd Behavioral Health. Action teams composed of experts in each area assembled and provided recommendations and priorities to the KC Chamber. The Behavioral Health team recognized that exposure to traumatic environments was at the foundation of many health challenges our community faces, and recommended building resiliency.

Understanding Resilience

The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce states that Resilient KC aims to:

  • Raise awareness of the impacts of trauma and adversities on the greater community
  • Build a resilient community
  • Collect data on exposure rates of adverse childhood experiences and resiliency building resources within our community

According to Trauma Matters KC, “resilience is the capacity to withstand stress and catastrophe. Psychologists recognize the capabilities of humans to adapt and overcome risk and adversity: individuals and communities are able to rebuild their lives even after devastating tragedies.

“Being resilient doesn’t mean going through life without experiencing stress and pain. People feel grief, sadness and a range of other emotions after adversity and loss. Resilience happens when an individual works through the emotions and effects of stress and painful events.”

Learn more about the factors that contribute to resilience, and learn more about the trauma-focused care provided by KVC Prairie Ridge Hospital.

Resilient KC member organizations include:
Awaken Whole Life Center
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of KC
Consensus Creating Community Solutions KC
Cornerstones of Care
Jackson County Mental Health Fund
Kansas City Public Schools
Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences
KVC Health Systems
Mental Health American of the Heartland
Niles Homes for Children
REACH Healthcare Foundation
Special Neighbors
Successful Edge, LLC
Swope Health Services
Synergy Services
Tri-County Mental Health Services
Truman Medical Centers
US Department of Health & Human Services
YMCA of Greater Kansas City

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