Think back to your favorite production of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. You no doubt recall the cold-hearted miserliness of Ebenezer Scrooge. But what steals the show is Scrooge's transformation from humbug to cheerful giver.
It turns out the link between giving and good cheer is backed by scientific research. Studies conducted at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and elsewhere show that altruism can reduce stress, depression and anxiety and can improve overall mental health. UMass researcher Carolyn Schwartz explains that the act of "focusing outside the self" can counter common mental health problems. This can occur whether we give our time, talent or treasure.
Here in Larimer County, we can give in a way that not only boosts individual mental health but that supports the mental health of our entire community. As a United Way partner agency, Larimer Center for Mental Health benefits from your donations to United Way. In turn, the Center reinvests United Way funds and other private donations to serve our community's mental health needs.
United Way takes a leadership role in identifying and prioritizing health and human service issues in our community. By partnering with the Center for Mental Health, United Way recognizes mental health care as a priority for Larimer County and the Center as a leading provider of mental health services.
The Center for Mental Health serves 3,500 of your family members, friends and neighbors each year. Many of these individuals would not otherwise have access to quality mental health care. When their mental health needs are met, the people we serve are better able to contribute to our community. Just as giving promotes mental health, mental health is essential to an individual's ability to serve as a productive community member.
This holiday season, take a cue from Scrooge and give cheerfully. You'll be part of a circle of giving that benefits you and the entire community.