Most of us are busy in our daily and work lives. Dr. Kelly Graves, Executive Director of the Kellin Foundation is no exception. So busy that the non-profit organization she co-founded in 2013 has grown 500% in the last five years!
If you are not familiar with the Kellin Foundation, it is a Guilford County-based nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that strengthens resilience among children, families, adults, and communities through trauma-informed behavioral health services focused on prevention, treatment, and healing. The organization was also recognized as a National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) clinic, one of only two in North Carolina.
Better Together With The Kellin Foundation
The latest chapter for the Kellin Foundation is a merger with Mental Health Greensboro. For several years, Mental Health Greensboro was interested in adding clinical services to its array of resources. The Kellin Foundation had a strong clinical component but limited peer support and was looking to grow peer support services. When approached in the summer of 2021 about a potential merger, it seemed like a great opportunity to combine the strengths of both organizations.
With the announcement of the retirement of Donna Shelton, Mental Health Greensboro’s Executive Director, the timing was right for the merger to proceed. The two boards agreed and the merger was finalized on April 1, 2022. The result is an integrated mental health organization. This organization provides treatments scientifically proven to work to the members of the Greensboro community. These members otherwise might not have access to quality mental health care.
In addition to the merger, the Kellin Foundation recently won a $20,000 award in the Future Fund of Greensboro competition. This is a Shark Tank-style competition against other non-profits presented by The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro. The live event was originally scheduled for 2020. Like so many events delayed due to COVID-19, the final live event for Future Fund was put on hold until May 2022.
In the competition, Graves had to give a three-minute live pitch about why the Kellin Foundation is passionate about what they do and to excite the audience about their work. Ultimately, it was up to the live audience to vote for a winner from the nine finalists.
In her presentation, Graves spoke to the urgency for many in the community in need of immediate mental health support. The pandemic has added to the waitlist for services. While the need and demand for help are high, access to affordable services can be out of reach for many. The goal of the Kellin Foundation is to support people before they reach a crisis situation. These emergencies often result in them going to a crisis center or hospital.
Mental Health Awareness
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Graves wants those who are in need to understand that they are not alone. One in five people in the Greensboro community are struggling with mental health issues. These issues include thoughts of suicide. These issues affect children, adolescents, and adults. She stresses a message of hope and that there are always resources available. “Everyone has rough days,” points out Dr. Graves. When those days begin to show a consistent pattern, and you begin to feel “underwater,” those are signs that you should reach out for help.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused so many issues – ranging from health issues to economic issues – Graves thinks there are positive takeaways from the crisis. “One of the bi-products of all of us going through the COVID-19 crisis,” says Graves, “is that people who may not have previously understood the impact and weight of mental health concerns have a better awareness and understanding of those with ongoing mental health issues. We can collectively talk about stress and how it impacts us now.”
The Kellin Foundation Gives Back
Too often people find themselves having to choose between feeding themselves or paying their bills. Often they put off seeking mental health assistance altogether because of the cost. Dr. Graves calls her organization a “gap-filler” – strategically leveraging and partnering with organizations able to take insurance and help keep individuals from falling between the cracks. If you or someone you know needs mental health assistance but maybe either be uninsured or underinsured, the Kellin Foundation is a great resource.
You can contact the Kellin Foundation via email at Info@KellinFoundation.org or by telephone at (336) 429-5600.