When it comes to the topic of drug use and addiction, many often link these problematic issues to large metro areas or poverty-stricken inner cities and far too often shy away from how the factors of mental health and mental illness can have a direct association. In reality, the percentage of the younger generation using substances in our rural communities can match, as well as exceed, some substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and opioids, than that of the larger metro areas.
The global lack of understanding within the field of mental health and signs of mental illness lay heavier burdens upon our rural communities where treatment and support are spread thin.
Amy Roe, a Rochester, Indiana native, has a belief that people, organizations, and communities should have the ability to live their best lives. Her artform is being able to uncover true needs and helping others find the solutions to living a better life. After some time away helping to create, foster, and launch the growth of other organizations, she returned to her hometown to work as the Executive Director at the Fulton County Chamber of Commerce. With eyes more open to better view the community she loved, she realized some of the intrinsic issues constraining economic development holding it back from being the truly vibrant community she knew it should be; too many in the workforce were either actively using substances or had a generational poverty mindset prior to any substance abuse and struggled with mental health issues directly related to those very issues.
Wanting to tie the community tighter together, Amy began meeting with other leaders in the community to discuss the issues having negative impact and collectively share their visions for solutions. As the meetings and talks increased, a committee was soon formed to begin to put solutions in action. Having a broader scope of all the issues and the wealth of work needed, committee member Virga Smith thought they could benefit from a nonprofit status if they were a non-profit organization. As more stepped up to lead, Fulton County H.O.P.E began to serve the community. Amy, alongside other key members such as Jason See, helped bring about the Outlet Youth Center, launch Celebrate Recovery, and give support and inspire people to start Recovery Café. She knew more support services could provide awareness and education, and unify to take down obstacles together and find more solutions for a healthier path forward as a community.
Amy took up photography as a bit of a hobby when she was younger, but music has always been the thing which made her feel connected to her soul. Not always able to find ways to outwardly express herself, through music and songs she could put words to what she was feeling. After discussing her relationship with music with local artist Jessica Shafer and Pat Brown of Recovery Café, she found an understanding and connection with art and how individuals process their feelings through their work and the necessity it gives to better mental health.
Amy feels blessed to be able to hear the hearts of the people she speaks with and is always in the midst of formulating the next steps to bringing more positive changes to building a closer, healthier community; a community that will continue to heal and grow with a better path forward toward living the best lives they can live.