A new year often brings about thoughts of change, growth, and resolutions. How can I be better? What can I adjust in my life? How can I be healthier?

Honestly - we ask ourselves similar questions as an organization at the start of each calendar year. How can we do better? What policies can we improve? How can we help others be healthier?

Our recent inclusion of social determinants of health has broadened our horizons of healthcare assistance. Transportation, healthy food security, early childhood education, and mental/behavioral health are now all part of our everyday work to provide "the Major Difference" for MHP patients.

For 2022, we took charge on our typical resolutions.

How can we do better?

Simply put - we focused on our supporters. We hosted events like Investing In You which discussed women's health (financial, physical, and mental) specifically. (Psst. Keep an eye out for this event again in 2023). We held celebration events for long-time and just-welcomed donors. Our gratitude built stronger relationships between us and our generous constituents.

What policies can we improve?

The framework for incorporating social determinants of health work was already built, so we started the necessary work for our county. We invested in the future of Shelby County children by aiding in the Early Learning Shelby County center. We also focused specifically on mental and behavioral health assistance during Giving Tuesday, raising over $3,000 to start a new charity care fund for this growing need. An UberHealth pilot was formed to offer much-needed transportation. Staff continue to work closely with organizations whose missions revolve around healthy food access.

How can we help others be healthier?

This is always and will always be our resolution/goal. It's our mission, after all! However, one aspect of our mission has become a growing crisis all over the country: mental and behavioral health.

The $3,150 raised on Giving Tuesday (November 29) will be used to create a brand new mental and behavioral health assistance fund for patients with verifiable need.

MHP already provides financial assistance to any qualifying patient who needs it, but this new fund was established because the need is great, and the importance of this kind of assistance is even greater.

Mental health in Shelby County matches - if not exceeds - what we are seeing across the nation. Nearly 50% of all residents have a mental health diagnosis. Most of these are related to stress, anxiety, depression, etc. A key to working through episodic mental health issues is connecting with a provider who can help the patient develop skills to cope.

MHP has expanded access to providers significantly facility wide.

But expanding services doesn't fix the problem, though. Nearly 40% of Shelby County residents are below the financial survivability level. This means they are choosing between healthcare and food, utilities and medication, therapy and the heating bill, etc.

This new fund supplements the work done by our SDOH and Population Health employees. Donors to this fund will be honored as MHP Inaugural Mental Health Champions in early 2023.

Donate now at mymhp.org/givingtuesday to become an MHP Inaugural Mental Health Champion yourself!