I write to you today for a different reason. Today, Here/Hear ends. This has been a difficult decision for all involved, but one that we ultimately think is in the best interest of the people we help and the people who do the helping.
First off, though, this decision has been a few months in the making. I, Nate, am ok and not suffering from any mental health crisis. This is a decision that I talked over with people and that I came to for a number of reasons. But my mental health was not one of them. I am actually doing very well.
The decision comes, mainly, because my time is divided elsewhere. I have a family that I rely on heavily for my mental health. Spending time with them and having a good relationship with them is of the utmost importance. As well, I recently became one of two campus ministers at Ancilla College. This was a real blessing for me as it is work that I believe in. Along with that, I am a full-time student pursuing licensure as a mental health counselor. I simply cannot do any more at this time.
As well, it seems that other people and organizations are filling some of the needs that Here/Hear does. There have been a number of places that have held suicide prevention workshops. We started the conversation on mental health in Marshall County, but we are not the end of it. We simply need to get out of the way so other people can do the work.
I am also at a place of frustration. Many people come to us for issues or send people to us for referrals. However, the support that we experience, at times, is very low. Everything seems like an uphill battle and with the other responsibilities I have on my plate, I simply cannot roll boulders up hills anymore. There is still work to be done and I will help others in that work, but I can no longer be the leader. Here/Hear cannot be the work.
While we love and appreciate the support we have garnered over the years, it is simply time for us to recognize the fact that Here/Hear has run its course. We have done very good things, from Hear Festival to our workshops to helping people in crisis. And now is the time to acknowledge that good work and leave on a high note. I and others do not want Here/Hear to simply languish and fade away. It is better to leave when things are good, when life is good, and when we know that we have made a difference and done the things necessary to really help people. This is that time.
Financially, Here/Hear has always struggled with donations. No one at Here/Hear has ever received a paycheck or a stipend or anything like that. We always were passionate about the work and that meant volunteers pouring in hours of time to make this organization run. It’s no longer fair to ask that. With that in mind, though, Here/Hear does have $7,788.00 in our account. Our idea right now is to give that to some other nonprofit organizations doing the work of helping people with mental illness. We plan to give money to TREES, Inc., a transgender resource and education group that helps transgender people with their mental health through education and the like. They have been a large supporter and partner with us since the beginning. We also plan to give money to Mental Health America, a group that does great work in providing resources for those needing them. If someone has a suggestion for another organization that might benefit, we are open to that.
Finally, let us end by thanking all of the people that did support us over the years, whether financially, as a volunteer, through word of mouth, or any other way. There are too many people to list. I have tears in my eyes remembering all of the people that supported us in some way. Our goal is not to disappoint you or blindside you, but to move all of us in a better direction.
Executive Director of Here/Hear