CEO’s Message # 4
Why “Human Development” is part of our new name
This is the fourth message in a series explaining the creation of The Kent Center for Human and Organizational Development from the former Kent County Mental Health Center. The first three messages dealt with (1) the reasons the Board decided to change the name, (2) the mission and guiding principles that will continue to steer the agencies operation and (3) a summary of the core services which the Center will continue to remain committed to for adults with severe and persistent mental illness. This article explains why “Human Development” is part of our new name.
The Kent Center has programs that span the entire life cycle of human beings. From providing counseling to expectant mothers and fathers, through consulting to child care providers and pre schools, to offering a K-12 certified school, to working with youth and teenagers and their families and consulting to numerous school systems, to offering a comprehensive array of mental health and substance abuse services to adults of all ages to our specialized older adult services program and our grief and loss counseling services, we are there to help through all stages of human development.
In the not to distant past, mental health was thought to me for the “other guy” and there was a great stigma associated with having emotional problems. Much has changed over time. We now realize that first and foremost, we are all emotional beings that think, not thinking beings with feelings. Feelings come first and govern our life and how we relate to the world. Just like physical health, when we have our emotional health, we have just about everything. In fact, there is substantial research supporting the fact that our physical health is directly tied in to our emotional health, and visa-versa. There is no greater challenge ahead of us than fostering the healthy emotional development of human beings. No living creature on earth has a bigger influence on the planet than human beings. Will we live our lives in fear or in security? Will we respect ourselves and our neighbors, or dislike ourselves and distrust our neighbors? Will we feel jealous and insecure, or happy with what we have and who we are? Will we value diversity, or be threatened by things that are different? These are mental health issues that will determine the future of life on this planet for all of us.
The Kent Center sees the promotion of positive human development as a core reason the Center exists. We do this by helping people to develop and maintain a healthy emotional life. Helping people to communicate with each other, to know themselves, to recognize that all people come with strengths and weaknesses, is something The Kent Center works on all the time. We know that to compare ourselves to others can only make us feel vain if we see ourselves as “better than”, or bitter, if we see ourselves as “less than”. We help people to accept themselves and others for who they are and to realize each and every one of us brings our own special gifts to this world.
But emotional well being and mental health are very much tied to our brain chemistry. Some things are established very early in life, before age three, and set the stage for how we interact with the world. Some things are genetic and pass on from parent to child. And some things occur as a result of life experience, such as through trauma or loss. We human beings are blessed with large brains that can be mobilized, when our emotional life or mental health becomes out of balance, to get us back on track. The Kent Center for Human and Organizational Development is there to ensure that human beings are given every opportunity to development in an emotionally healthy way, and to help people live fulfilling lives when faced with mental illness, or emotional roadblocks.