Omaha organization seeks funding for mobile mental health unit

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – “I’ve had depression most of my life but it was more under control until I lost my sight.”

Mary Sheldon, 60, lost her sight when she was 28 years old. She says a brain tumor severed her optic nerves and that’s when her depression spiraled out of control, eventually landing her in the hospital.

“That’s just the way mental health is, you can’t always plan it…and that’s why a mobile unit would be nice because they’re not always going to be able to call someone during the day knowing that they’re going to need help at two in the morning,” says Sheldon.

Brad Negrete is the Senior Director of Health and Wellness at Lutheran Family Services. He’s trained extensively with law enforcement across the US and says answering mental health calls may be beyond an officer’s level of expertise.

“Having someone that’s walked in the path of that individual can help build that rapport that much quicker and set them up for success possibly that much faster,” he says.

Lutheran Family Services is celebrating 100 plus years of helping out the community. They say adding a mobile crisis unit supports people where they are.

“Meeting people where they’re at is actually part of our strategic plan right now in accessibility to care. It’s putting people at the heart of all we do at LFS,” says Lutheran Family Services Development Officer Mark Versen.

He says another part of that strategic plan is getting that mobile unit up and running. LFS needs to raise $150,000 to $200,000 dollars. Not to mention, the added funding that’s needed to ensure the mobile crisis unit can and does maintain its services to the community.

“I think it would be very helpful because it would encourage people to call for help. A lot of times people are afraid to call for help because of that. They don’t want the police to be involved they’re scared and so they won’t call for help. Coming out to someone’s home and seeing what’s going on where they’re at, instead of taking them out of their environment, will be better,” says Sheldon.

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