A Rich History
Since 1938, Valley Oaks Health has been known throughout Indiana for its contributions to treating those with mental illness and substance abuse disorders. With a rich history, and a name synonymous with mental health care in the many communities we serve, some have wondered why a name change would be necessary.
The Stigma of Mental Illness
While mental health awareness has been raised significantly over the years, the vast majority are largely ignorant to the prevalence and nature of mental illness and substance abuse in America. While there are a number of factors that contribute to the lack of awareness, a great deal of this ignorance is due to the portrayal of mental illness and mental health facilities as seen in pop-culture.
Movies like the Academy Award Winning, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest characterized and grossly misrepresented the reality of mental illness and served to stigmatize the people suffering and the places offering care. In the mid 1970’s a movement to deinstitutionalize mental health hospitals began. Facilities were shut down in droves and those with serious mental health disorders were forced onto the streets.
The result was an even larger stigma against mental illness. Everyday people with mental health issues avoided admitting mental illness and seeking treatment for fear of being socially labeled and stigmatized. We’ve been fighting these negative ideas of mental health disorder and the facilities that treat them for decades.
It’s Time To Erase The Stigma
At Valley Oaks, we have a passion to erase the stigma of mental illness and substance abuse disorders. Even more so, we have a passion and a mission to educate our communities about the commonality of mental illness and to remove the negative perceptions and create trust between those who need care and those who provide it.
Around August of 2017 we realized that we were part of the problem.
A Hidden Gem
We always had a heart to work with everyday people who suffered quietly with mental illnesses and substance use issues, and for the past 80 years, we primarily cared for community members through an inpatient program, which it was known for. Over the years we had morphed into something so much more. We had become a hidden powerhouse of mental health care, integrating substance abuse therapy and mental health care programs in order to care for the whole person, whole families, and whole communities -and yet no one knew. Inpatient programs only accounted for 3-5% of our business, but we realized that we hadn’t communicated to our communities who we are and what we do. So we decided it was finally time for that to change.
Let’s Finally Step into the Light
Get out in front of the community, educate people about the commonality of mental health issues. Let them know who are we, what services we provide, and that we’re here to serve individuals, families, support-systems, and children for suffer quietly and alone.
It’s time to start making a change and it begins with a name, but it’s so much more than a name.