HCN News & Notes

Eversource Donates $2,500 to Fund MHA Support Groups for Veterans, LGBTQ Community

SPRINGFIELD — Eversource, New England’s largest energy-delivery company, presented a check for $2,500 to the Mental Health Assoc. (MHA) to fund access for military veterans and members of the LGBTQ community to support groups at MHA’s BestLife Emotional Health & Wellness Center.

“We’re proud to support the important services MHA provides,” said Eversource Community Relations Manager Mike Vedovelli. “This partnership is based on our mutual commitment to empower individuals through education and opportunity. MHA’s long history of quality services provides tools people need to fully participate in the community.”

Kimberley Lee, MHA’s vice president of Resource Development & Branding, added that “MHA applauds Eversource for their generosity as well as their insight and sensitivity in helping us serve these two populations who experience higher incidences of mental-health challenges. This Eversource grant is enabling MHA to launch support groups that meet the individual emotional health and wellness needs of our military veterans and those who are in the LBGTQ community.”

According to Sara Kendall, vice president of Clinical Operations for MHA, community members and friends can help individuals in a number of ways, but the support provided by a group of people who have had similar experiences is even more powerful.

“Through shared experience, a veteran support group helps its members build a healthy, positive lifestyle through participating and understanding,” she said. “Being part of a clinician-facilitated group can help veterans work to overcome obstacles, build working relationships, and support individuals as they learn to self-navigate in the community. The benefits of support groups for individuals who identify as LGBTQ include feeling less lonely, isolated, or judged; gaining a sense of empowerment and control; improving coping skills and sense of adjustment; talking openly and honestly about their feelings; and reducing distress, depression, or anxiety.”

Lee emphasized that two upcoming days of recognition coincide with the launch of both support groups: Friday, Oct. 11 is Coming Out Day, and Monday, Nov. 11 is Veterans Day. “So the timing of the Eversource grant allows us to reinforce the services of BestLife for anyone who wants to start a conversation about mental health. That could very well include individuals facing the emotional challenges that can be involved in coming out as well as individuals whose military service may have included traumatic experiences that can impact mental health and emotional wellness.”

For more information on these new support groups, call (844) MHA-WELL.