As we Imagine Rotary we hope to imagine the impact that we may have on others.  Recently your Club has been involved in the recognition of mental health and the challenges and opportunities before us.  
“Mental health worsened in online screenings last year: The latest numbers from the nation’s leading online mental health screening program are in, and they paint a pretty bleak picture of mental illness in the COVID era,” the Washington Times reports.
“In 2022, 2,078,549 people nationwide completed an online mental health screening from Mental Health America last year, the Alexandria, Virginia-based nonprofit reported Monday. The report found that 357,968 people in the U.S. took an anxiety screening, up 21% from 295,449 people in 2021, while the number of screenings for depression and suicidal thoughts also increased.”
Earlier this year we had a personal testimony on some of the struggles one faces with the stigma and anxiety of mental well-being.  Lyndsey Fennelly had joined us in March to discuss her continued journey.   Here is the Rotary Club of Ames YouTube channel link to the program and her story:
In addition, The Ames Evening Rotary Club formed an Ames Rotary team for the Hope Walks Here Out of the Darkness on April 29th to bring awareness regarding suicide awareness and prevention.  On Saturday your Club responded to the Out of Darkness campaign:
• Ames Evening and Noon Rotary raised $700.00.
• The event raised $10,320.19.
• 335 people participated on 24 teams.
• 224.80 miles were walked on the ISU Campus to offer awareness. 
And more is to be continued and conducted during our next Rotary year.  Incoming International President R. Gordon R. McInally has identified mental health as a priority:
“Talking about mental illness and emotional health may feel uncomfortable, but it's vital to the well-being of our global community. Creating a space where it's safe to address these issues will help provide a welcoming, equitable, and inclusive environment for everyone who interacts with us.
In 2023-24, RI President McInally will encourage clubs and districts to undertake activities that:
• Erase any stigma associated with discussions of emotional well-being
• Raise awareness of mental health needs
• Improve access to mental health services
In the meantime, for a respite during the battle, what are some things you and I might do in our own lives?  Perhaps, enjoying the outdoors is a start.
According to “All Trails” (May 1, 2023) these three ways with nature can improve your mental health:
1. Boosts your mood:  Within just the first five minutes of being outside, we experience a better mood.
2. Reduces Stress:  Spending 20 minutes in nature doing an activity helps reduce stress, and
3. Improves memory:  Memory and attention span improve by 20 percent after just one hour outside.
With your involvement and support, your Rotary Club of Ames has taken a lead in the mental health arena and will continue to step forward.  
Thank you for your continued support of Service Beyond Self.
Kent Frankenfeld
Club President 2022 - 2023