This was originally posted by the Marion & Polk Early Learning Hub here.

In my job I get the opportunity to connect with and learn about a lot of different agencies that provide much-needed services and support to people all throughout our community. While attending a recent Community Action Team Meeting I had the privilege of hearing a terrific presentation from Reach Out Oregon. I was impressed with their mission, their resources and training, and the value of the services that they provide to families in our community, and I wanted to make sure and share their information with you all here with the hope that you or someone you know might benefit.

Reach Out Oregon is a community of family, friends and caregivers coming together for parents and children.  They are a group of people committed to providing a listening ear, resources and support for families who have children experiencing emotional, behavioral and mental health challenges.  This dedicated team of volunteers and professionals is trained to hear parent and caregiver concerns and questions and can offer guidance and direct connections with others in the community who can provide families with what they need to ensure their children receive the very best opportunity to thrive.

Talking about these types of challenges with someone can seem daunting and downright scary.  Reach Out Oregon offers parents and caregivers the opportunity to start the conversation however they wish as you can search through their list of local resources, live-chat with a friendly trained volunteer, or call their “warmline” to get direct support right away.  Reach Out Oregon specifically recruits and trains volunteers with direct personal experience in the same types of challenges the families they serve are facing so that they can relate, empathize and better connect with those who reach out.

Mental health is still a very misunderstood and often stigmatized issue in our society.  Organizations like Reach Out Oregon understand that and are trying to help families working to manage the mental health needs of their children so that they can feel more confident and provide the best possible environment for their little ones.  I hope that if you or someone you know might benefit from talking with them that you’ll take a moment and reach out.

This is fatherhood…