Exploring Ways to Break the Stigma of Mental Health

Often when people think about the work of The H. E. Butt Family Foundation, the Canyon programs dominate the imagination. This makes sense. The Foundation continues to commit great resources to the Canyon programs because they fulfill one of the family’s deepest desires. We want people to experience transformation in the Canyon.

And we want people to experience transformation in their homes and communities, too.

This is why, late this summer, we were pleased to sponsor Pathways to Hope in San Antonio for the second year. This community-wide conference on mental health brings together faith leaders and community organizations to break the stigma that still hangs over mental health issues.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in five people experience a mental health disorder each year. That would mean 250,000 people in San Antonio alone. These people and their families need support and guidance navigating the field of mental health.

Partnering with mental health initiatives has been one of our areas of interest through the generations. Mrs. Butt, Sr., worked on the issue for nearly two decades, pushing to provide better support and dignity to those struggling with mental illness. My father-in-law, Howard, was openly discussing his own struggles with mental health at Laity Lodge at a time when people kept these things hidden from friends and family.

Sadly, mental health is still a topic that people seem to ignore. Deborah and I are exploring ways to break the stigma of mental health and help families find support and understanding. In addition to Pathways to Hope, we’ve commissioned a study conducted by sociologists about how churches acknowledge and support mental health issues in their congregations. Many pastors do not feel like they are doing a great job helping their congregations address mental illness, and we believe these efforts will lead to better resources to support people on the front lines of mental health.

As you read through this issue of Echoes, filled with stories about folks having a great time in the Canyon, remember the stories behind the stories—and remember those families that are struggling because of mental health and other challenges.

David Rogers, President
H. E. Butt Foundation

More from this issue

One. Wild. Summer.

Fifty-year traditions kept alive, with new ones being forged. We pulled off the best two weeks of our lives five times in a row.

This Treasure, Earthen Vessels

For more than three decades, Grimes’ modest coffee mugs have been a warming, earthy touchstone symbolizing all that’s experienced at Laity Lodge.

Canyon Freedom

Dallas group hosts a special Foundation Camp for children of incarcerated mothers.

Helping Pastors Help People With Mental Illness

53% of people struggling with mental illness—including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, impulse control, substance use, adjustment disorders, and psychotic symptoms, will reach out to a pastor for help rather than to a psychiatrist or a doctor.

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