The Aunt Bertha Blog

Provider Spotlight Series: A Q&A with Step Up For Mental Health

" I know what it’s like not to know where to turn and I want us to provide resources that empower people to  “step up” and care for both the person in their life dealing with mental health-related issues as well as their own well-being."--Adrienne McCue, Step Up For Mental Health 

As Aunt Bertha launches our Provider Package, making new features and how-to content available to providers who have claimed their listings, we bring you The Provider Spotlight Series--a group of blog postings aimed at showcasing the remarkable work a variety of providers are doing in their communities and the ways in which they are using Aunt Bertha to help them.

We spoke with Adrienne McCue, President and Executive Director at Step Up For Mental Health (formerly AJW Foundation), about how the Chicago-based organization is using Aunt Bertha as a tool to support their work of providing resources not only to those affected by mental health-related issues, but to their families and caregivers as well. 


AB: In a few sentences, what is the mission of your organization and what kinds of services do you offer to advance your mission?

sufmh_logo_web_1080.pngSUFMH: While our name used to be different, our mission hasn’t changed. We simply wanted our name to reflect on exactly the work we are trying to do as an organization. Step Up For Mental Health’s mission is to support, educate and provide services to empower families living with the challenges of mental health disorders. We believe that mental health issues impact social issues including education, homelessness and poverty. Step Up For Mental Health strives to match families with resources to help move them toward a more productive life. There’s a huge stigma attached to mental health issues and we want to work to end that stigma.

On a personal note, I was a caregiver for my mother [for many years growing up] who suffered from schizophrenia until her death in 2012. I know what it’s like not to know where to turn and I want us to provide resources that empower people to  “step up” and care for both the person in their life dealing with mental health-related issues as well as their own well-being.

AB: How do people learn about your programs?

SUFMH: At the moment, mostly through word of mouth and social media. We recently listed our programs on Aunt Bertha and are now encouraging people to connect with us there as well! 

AB: What challenges have you faced in the past in finding people for your programs?

SUFMH: Because we are an emerging non-profit and just went through a name change, we had to figure out how to let the community know about Step Up For Mental Health as a resource. We have recently been getting alot of traction, which is great. 

AB: How does Aunt Bertha work as a tool to help you find and connect with people interested in your programs?

SUFMH: Lisiting our programs on Aunt Bertha has given us the opportunity to grow our reach and connect with more people in need in Chicagoland. The ability to update each program's description and other information really helps people understand what we do and how we can help them and their families. 

 AB: Are there any other ways you use or plan to use Aunt Bertha in your work?

SUFMH: We love Aunt Bertha!  We learned about [the platform] through a webinar and before our programs were even listed, we began using the site to refer people who had called in for mental health related services, but who also needed other services.

unnamed.jpgMental health is more than just “I need housing”. It's “I can’t get out of bed”.  We give people the option to self-navigate using Aunt Bertha, or we assist them in using the platform. While we don’t operate as a crisis hotline, we want to be able to support people (whether it be in the short or long term) to find services that will improve their overall quality of life.

 

AB: What are some of your reflections about social service access and referrals, and how does Step Up for Mental Health fit into that space?

SUFMH: In a time of great crisis, people dealing with mental health issues or their caregivers can be under even more stress. I’d like to be able to say, “Okay, you just relax, let me get a package together for you and get you the information you need”. That’s where Aunt Bertha really comes into play because I can’t do everything. We’re small, but if I have tools, like Aunt Bertha, I can make a huge impact with the resources I do have.

Are you a direct service provider in your community or know of an organization doing impactful direct service work? Click here to learn more about how to claim a program on Aunt Bertha and unlock free team sharing, reporting and referral management functionality, all in one user-friendly tool!

Contributor: Adrienne McCue

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Topics: Mental Health Social Services Provider Package Provider Spotlight Series Chicago

Provider Spotlight Series: A Q&A with the Literacy Coalition of Central Texas

Literacy is more than knowing how to read. That’s the message the Literacy Coalition of Central Texas is spreading to community members and the focus of their work with over 2,000 clients last year.

As Aunt Bertha launches our Provider Package, making new features and how-to content available to providers who have claimed their listings, we bring you The Provider Spotlight Series--a group of blog postings aimed at showcasing the remarkable work a variety of providers are doing in their communities and the ways in which they are using Aunt Bertha to help them.

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We spoke with the Ashlee Kraus, Social Services Coordinator at the Literacy Coalition of Central Texas about how the organization is embracing digital outreach as a way to better serve their clients and reach their target audience, managing referrals through Aunt Bertha's Connect feature, and continually finding new ways to engage their community after claiming their listing. 


AB: In a few sentences, what is the mission of your organization and what kinds of services do you offer to advance your mission?

LCCT: In today’s world, literacy is about using printed and written information to function in society, achieve one’s goals, and develop one’s knowledge and potential. At the Literacy Coalition we believe everyone should have the skills they need to reach their full potential. Our mission is to improve the quality and increase the availability of literacy services to Central Texas, with a vision of a community that is 100% literate, employable and engaged.

AB: How do people learn about your programs?

LCCT: The most common ways that people learn about our programs are through search engines and our website. We also attend many informational fairs throughout the year, and see a great response through word of mouth from our former participants.

AB: What challenges have you faced in the past in finding people for your programs?

LCCT: Our greatest challenge is having the platforms to make sure that all of the relevant information about our program is out there. Our High School Equivalency (GED) and Adult Basic Education programs are very intensive and require a potential student to dedicate a lot of time and energy. Our program is designed so students can work at their own pace, so it’s important that our messaging is clear and we are proving that we are in it to support students for as long as it takes them to accomplish their goals.

AB: How does Aunt Bertha work as a tool to help you find and connect with people interested in your programs?

LCCT: Aunt Bertha gives us a user friendly and practical place to advertise our free services. It’s also a great platform for allowing people to get in contact with us, and posting all of the most current and relevant information about our programs. Aunt Bertha helps us find out more about the prospective client’s needs and determine if they are a good fit for our programs.

AB: Have you seen a change over time in the number of people reaching out to learn more about your services online?

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LCCT: Yes! Since we’ve had the option to move to online platforms, we have seen a great increase in the number of digital inquiries we get. We have an inquiry form on our website that allows potential clients to request information about the many programs we offer and gives them options for language preferences as well as when and how they would like to be contacted.

 

AB: Are there any other ways you use or plan to use Aunt Bertha in your work?

LCCT: So far, we’ve been using Aunt Bertha as a tool to direct potential new students to our program, but in recent months we have really seen how it can be useful in helping connect clients with other resources in the community. We have been able to pass out postcards and general information that has allowed students to navigate the website on their own and inquire about resources available to them. We are excited to start using the team sharing feature so that the social workers and instructors can have a go-to, trusted list of resources for clients.

AB: What are some of your reflections about social service access and referrals, and how does the Literacy Coalition fit into that space?

LCCT: Many times, when our clients need help they are in a very vulnerable state. Their odds can seem insurmountable and they don’t know where to start. At Literacy Coalition, we truly believe that literacy is about more than just knowing how to read and write. It’s about having the tools and skills one needs to navigate life, and confidently using those skills to achieve their goals. The team at The Learning Center is dedicated to making sure that every potential client that passes through our doors has access to high quality services, even if they are services that we cannot provide. Aunt Bertha gives us an amazing tool to help everyone navigate the social services landscape, and get them on the way to being their best selves.

Are you a direct service provider in your community or know of an organization doing impactful direct service work? Click here to learn more about how to claim a program on Aunt Bertha and unlock free team sharing, reporting and referral management functionality, all in one user-friendly tool!

Contributor: Ashlee Kraus

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Topics: Provider Package Provider Spotlight Series