LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - The CEO of Mental Health America Wabash Valley Region is stepping up after serving for 25 years in that role. Jennifer Flora first got involved with MHA in 1991. She became CEO three years later. She was honored at the organizations annual Celebration of Mental Health America event Monday night.
According to it's website, MHA is the nation's leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to mental health. It has served Tippecanoe and surrounding counties since 1950. Volunteers answer crisis phones 24/7, helping people in need. Several of those volunteers shared their stories of MHA's impact at Monday's ceremony.
Flora said things have changed since she first started her career, and that they are changing for the better.
"(Mental health) was not a topic that was talked about, in fact it was a topic that was shunned," she said, remembering when she first started her career. "People now recognize the importance of mental health, the importance of seeking out services if they are even suspecting they might be experiencing some sort of mental health challenge."
She said she is thankful to have been surrounded by a passionate and dedicated team of staff and volunteers to help grow MHA's success over the years.
Brandi Christiansen will be taking over as the new CEO on October 1st. Christiansen comes to Lafayette from Howard County and previously served in the Navy.
She said she has big shoes to fill in place of Flora leaving, but that she has big plans for the future of fighting mental health.
"Law enforcement, first responders, the stigma in those professions is still amazingly high," she said. She also wants to be more proactive in educating our kids about how to recognize and deal with mental health early on.
"Why wait until stage four when it can be addressed before it gets to that point?" she said.
Click here to learn more about National Mental Health America.