Mental Health Awareness Into Action: C to C, The Commitment to Community Podcast Series from Oswald

September 22, 2021

Welcome to C to C, the commitment to community podcast series from OSCAST by Oswald. Special thanks to my first guest, Arian May, who I had the pleasure of talking with at OhioGuidestone headquarters in Berea, Ohio. I was first introduced to this organization during my time at Baldwin-Wallace University, whose campus is directly next to OhioGuidestone. I first met Arian many years ago through IICF, the Insurance Industry Charitable Fund in which Oswald is a founding member of the Ohio Chapter and OhioGuidestone is a partner and benefactor. From there, thanks to Arian and the incredible team at OGS, I’ve experienced new and deeper parts of this organization and the life-changing programming and services throughout Ohio.




Follow Arian and the organization at the links here:


Schmitz: Hi, welcome to this episode of C to C the Community Podcast from Oswald Companies. I’m Christina Capadona-Schmitz and I’m joined here today by Arian May Director of Advancement at OhioGuidestone, one of the largest behavioral health agencies in the state. Thanks so much for joining us today. How are you doing?

May: Thank you, Christina. I’m doing awesome. It’s just awesome. This is great. I’m here, right here in Berea, Ohio. This is my office headquarters.

Schmitz: We’re making it happen. I love it. Great. So today’s topic for our podcast is mental health awareness into action. So before we dig in here, I’d like to start by understanding your connection to the cause that you serve. We know the work that you do in nonprofit sector, it’s more than a job or career, it’s your calling…what connects you to the cause here at OhioGuidestone.

May: I started here 13 years ago. I started as an intern, and then I moved to get hired as an administrative assistant. And at the time, I was given just such a blessing to have the ability to learn about the organization and I fell in love with what we do. I can fast forward to today, and this has been throughout the duration of my 13 years here, there is never a day that I’m ever coming to work feeling like I have to come to work, I am passionate about what we do. And I’m excited on a daily basis to get going whatever the day throws me. So I’m definitely not only attached to the cause, but a deep, deep passion for what we do.

Schmitz: Absolutely. So it can we dig a little bit deeper now into the mental and emotional health crisis…certainly the COVID-19 pandemic…in many ways this brought to light, a lot of the things that maybe were in the dark before, can you talk a little bit about how your organization maybe either responded, or from a personal side what you’ve experienced?

May: Absolutely. So I first want to say that OhioGuidestone, the second the stay at home order hit, we moved very quickly, because we did not want any of our clients to have any gap and services. So we switched to telehealth, and we were fortunate enough to have the technology to do so. We were there on the front lines, with support services, however that looked while respecting the stay at home order. We just modified what we needed to do. Because we recognized the most underserved individuals were going to be hit the hardest by this. But of course, as the pandemic continued, we all have our stories of what happened and it became across the board, no matter what your background is just completely devastating in so many ways to so many different people. And our response, including my own…we all have had a very strong response to this. And I think right now what’s going on is we’re starting to as we emerge out of it, we’re starting to recognize, whoa, we’ve been through a pandemic…When was the last time that happened? It was 1918. Our kids have been through this pandemic…my kids, my oldest really struggled, struggled tremendously. And so, tying that back into mental health awareness and what we do here at OhioGuidestone. I am more passionate than ever about advocating for our behavioral health services.

Schmitz: Definitely. Do you think that this the situation we’ve been in…is it leading to more of breaking through the stigmas associated with mental health and emotional health? What do you think?

May: I can tell you most definitely, the conversations need to be continued. They need to be had….conversations like we’re having now. When we began, I’m just going to focus on one dynamic and this is our youth that went through this virtual learning through this isolation period. It has affected them deeply. I’ve heard from multiple counselors that there are issues arising within our youth that they haven’t seen or didn’t expect. And this is non-discriminatory. Doesn’t matter what background you come from. This is this is deeply affecting our youth as well as adults, families. I mean, there’s so many different waves, I guess you could call it that have just like knocked us down. And so my hope not only just working for a health organization which I admire and respect, and, and I’m so grateful to be a part of. But from a personal level, these are conversations that need to be had. Because there are…the suicide rate has increased… the overdose rate has increased, child abuse, domestic violence…we can keep going down this list of negative repercussions of this physical health crisis that is equally a mental health crisis.

Schmitz: Definitely. How is it hitting home for you, I know you are a mom yourself. You’re seeing, through the eyes of your clients here. How are you also tackling this, through a different lens?

May: I, I’m very open about my kiddos and I relate more than ever to our clients, I am a single mom, I’m a single mom of two girls. And my oldest is adopted from birth. And she really, in particular, struggled through the pandemic, and it was the isolation. She’s such a social kid. And it came out in mental health acting out behaviors, which I’m grateful enough to work for behavioral health agencies. So I was able to nip it in the bud, getting her hooked up with the necessary resources that she needed. I think there are a lot of people out there unwilling to admit that, that we, they, we, me, need help, let alone our kids admitting that, that your child needs help. And I’m speaking to parents out there. And I’m speaking from personal experience in meaning that your child needs help, is almost harder than admitting that you need help. Because you as a parent, me as a parent, I feel as I failed, and that’s not at all the case, our kids have been through something that their little minds can’t even conceptualize or process, let alone our brains. So there’s nothing wrong in admitting that I need help. And I struggled significantly with isolation myself, I’m clearly a very social person. Christina, you know, that. I thrive on interacting face to face and so I struggled significantly, and I sought help. And I was advocating for my, for my oldest as well. And I’m so grateful that I did she is thriving now. And going into the first grade next year and just set up for success. But it took a humbling, not my fault. No, I’m not a bad parent. And I’m also not a weak person. I’m a strong person for asking for help. And I’m a strong parent for asking.

Schmitz: Arian, OhioGuidestone does such a great job through its communications to build that awareness piece for mental and emotional health and services. But turning it into action? What are some strategies or different techniques that you use to reach a diverse audience, wherever they are?

May: Yes, absolutely. This is a perfect example. I was down at our job skill building facility yesterday. And we’ve noticed just an overall lack of enthusiasm. For our, just across the board, I think it’s because of the depression and anxiety and all that that’s come out of this, especially in the underserved neighborhoods. So our staff are on it. They are out there, they’re doing orientations. They’re at the fairs. They’re doing that so called guerilla marketing. And that’s just one of many examples. Our staff never stop, they go the extra mile for our clients. And we are a resource for you, whether you’re a current client, or someone out there that’s listening to this today that is struggling, please visit our website that’ll be notated below. And, you know, we are here to help. We are here to help please reach out and contact us.

Schmitz: Yes… how have you found success, having others, influencers or, in the sports realm to be your voice to different generations or maybe it’s a diverse audience or an audience that’s maybe a little more tech savvy, what have you done there and how have you find found success there?

May:  It’s amazing the voice that an influencer has, especially in the city of Cleveland … pro athletes and pro sports they are celebrities for sure. And we greatly value them and value their ability to move mountains for our clients through their advocacy. And so in that regard, it’s just sometimes you need to hear it from someone else. Maybe someone that you think is so super cool. Yeah, I’m, I’m the first to admit I’m not that cool. But we have some tremendous advocates, across our pro sports teams, all of them have just been diving in and recognizing what a wonderful work we’re doing. And their advocacy is just continuing this conversation that needs to be had. And, I if I started naming names, I would be fearful I forget someone wonderful, but we have so many wonderful influencers and impactful people that believe in our mission and our vision and our sharing that with their audiences, and we could not be more grateful.

Schmitz: You can visit OhioGuidestone’s social media, just to get just to get a sense of the passion. And how, together, those partnerships and collaborations, they are, they are helping to break through a lot of the stigma. Arian, what’s next for OhioGuidestone? Now there’s so much always going on. But what can we expect? And how can people get involved?

May: So we have so much going on in so many phenomenal projects. And our research team is working on some really exciting new developments in the behavioral health spectrum. We’re a daunting organization in the fact that we have so many programs and services, so visit our website. But we are here to help navigate you as it any which way you need assistance. If you need assistance, you give us a call. If you want to be a part of the action on the philanthropic front, please contact us because everyone wants to feel like they’re making a difference. And I can assure you whether it is $1 or $100,000, or anywhere in between. Your contribution is quite literally changing the course of a human being’s life. And we are a life changing organization. So I encourage you in any way, shape or form to get involved. I will say we have a sold-out gala coming up September 25, 2021. And this is our time to celebrate our resiliency, the resiliency of those that we serve the resiliency of our staff, the resiliency of our donors, we are resilient. And if there’s anything that I’d like to leave you with is that message you are resilient, and we are resilient.

Schmitz: Thank you so much. Thank you for all that you do after spending a little time with us today. So again, we’ll share the links to their social media website, so that we can follow you in the future to thank you so much.

This transcript has been edited for clarity and web formatting.

Introducing the CtoC podcast

Commitment to Community is a core value of Oswald; it’s the foundation of who we are and the purpose behind all we do. The CtoC podcast provides a platform for nonprofit partners to share their stories and discuss the critical issues facing their clients. Our goal: create a halo effect of service and support, inspiring our audiences to align with causes that speak to them and take action in their companies and communities.

Hosted by Christina Capadona-Schmitz, VP and director of marketing communications and leader for community engagement, this podcast series features in-depth interviews and highlights the good works happening throughout our communities.