TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - The Lieutenant Governor of Indiana, Suzanne Crouch came to the Wabash Valley on Friday.
Her first stop was the city of Brazil where she applauded the city for its positive efforts in benefiting the community. That comes after the city was awarded $75,000 in grant money. This money was presented to the city by Crouch and The Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) in line with the CARES Act.
With this grant money, the City partnered with the Clay County Food Pantry to provide local families with meals. Together, this allowed this local community to serve over one thousand families with food insecurity.
“To me, this demonstrates the heart and the soul of the people who live here,” Crouch said. “They are about taking care of each other. That is not only uplifting but it is also inspiring.”
Going forward, Crouch and OCRA will continue to help local communities with food insecurity, but she has another important message for local residents. In her next four years in office, she plans to focus on Mental Health awareness.
In Terre Haute, she spoke with the community on this new goal. She emphasized that one in five Hoosiers is suffering from mental health challenges. Indiana is not alone and this a trend we are seeing nationwide.
“Those Hoosiers who are struggling we need to lift up,” Crouch said. And if we are truly, truly committed to a legacy of excellence we need to move all Hoosiers to the next level, including those who struggle with mental illness."
Crouch and other government officials hope this new stronger emphasis on prioritizing mental health awareness will help many local residents in need.
One father shared his story with the community on how he lost his son, Cade, to suicide just three short months ago.
“This can happen in a small town, this can happen to a normal family," Frye said.
Mike Frye is not the only one who lost someone important from suicide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that suicidal ideation was very elevated in this pandemic. The numbers are nearly doubled from 2018.
Especially with the consequences of the pandemic, Crouch believes now more than ever there should be an emphasis on helping those struggling with mental health problems.
“We can’t just talk about this problem, we have to do something about this problem,” Crouch said.
Going forward, Crouch hopes to help small rural communities in Indiana get the resources they need to support new mental health initiatives.