According to the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), approximately 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 5 youths suffer from mental illness in the United States alone. Despite the prevalence of mental illness, however, there is still a harsh stigma surrounding it, making it difficult to talk about and difficult to get treatment.
Bo’s Effort is working to change that.
Bo DePaola was the son of John DePaola, LONG’s Chairman and CEO, and Jill Long DePaola, LONG’s CBO and Executive Officer. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 19 and passed away from an accidental overdose just a short time later at the age of 20.
During Bo’s struggle with mental illness, the DePaolas were introduced to NAMI as part of the treatment they sought for Bo at the Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC). NAMI provided the DePaolas with essential education on mental illness, family-to-family and peer-to-peer classes, as well as resources to help guide them through this sudden change their lives.
After their tragic experience, John and Jill, along with the rest of their friends and family, decided to honor Bo’s memory by finding a way to support those who suffer from mental illness and their families.
Their desire to give back to the organization that helped them so much sparked the creation of Bo’s Effort in 2015 to support the work of NAMI and the Anne Arundel Medical Center. The mission of the organization is to chip away at the stigma that surrounds mental illness, to serve as a resource for those affected by mental illness and to help facilitate treatment for those who need it.
Many treatments and resources for those affected by mental illness fall outside of most health insurance or state assistance programs, making care and treatment that much harder to access. The lack of available resources and the inability to access proper treatment, coupled with the harsh stigma that often surrounds mental illness, can lead to a spiraling effect for many of those affected.
Bo’s Effort honors Bo’s memory by helping NAMI and society as a whole address some of these barriers and stigmas in order to grant more people access to the help that they need.
By the suggestion of a friend of the DePaolas, a golf tournament was launched as the first fundraiser for the new organization.
For the past three years, the Annual Bo’s Effort Golf Tournament has served as a beacon of hope by raising mental health awareness and gathering funds to support AAMC and NAMI. Through ticket sales, donations, sponsorships and silent and live auctions, Bo’s Effort has been able to come together as a community to raise money for this cause, driving society a step closer to eradicating the stigma of mental illness.
Thanks to the generous backing from friends, family, sponsors and all who turned out to support the previous Bo’s Effort Golf Tournaments, we have been able to support AAMC’s and NAMI’s important efforts to combat the stigma of mental illness and provide the care that so many who are struggling need.
Changing society’s perception of mental illness is no small task. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but thanks to the inspiration of Bo’s life, his kindness and his generosity, Bo’s Effort will keep on changing the way the world views mental illness.
Want to take part in the next golf tournament?
To learn more about Bo’s story, the Bo’s Effort organization and how you can participate in the upcoming 4th Annual Golf Tournament or become a regular donor, visit the Bo’s Effort website or contact us today.
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