New group seeks to improve advocacy, awareness

Clermont County mental health and wellness community agencies and organizations stand united in their efforts to promote advocacy and awareness for mental health issues.

The alliance, which was formed in September, is a new, volunteer group of county professionals who are committed to staying connected by pulling shared resources and expertise in creating a united front in destigmatizing mental health issues.

The Oct. 6 meeting at Mercy Hospital Clermont was attended by 15 dedicated mental health professionals.

“We have many goals and objectives,” said alliance facilitator Ann Hoffman-Ruffner. “Our main mission is to increase access and decrease barriers to mental health services in the county through advocacy and public health education.”

Hoffman-Ruffner, who is the program educator and community liaison for the hospital’s department of behavioral medicine, said that the whole purpose of the new alliance is to spread the word of the importance of their services and resources to help people understand that those suffering with mental illness are like everyone else –