United Way of Lake County Blogs

United we Change the Conversation about Mental Health
Join the Conversation. Change the Conversation.
April 14, 2020

You can help United Way of Lake County change the conversation around mental health in our community.

In times of crisis, it’s especially important to support mental health. Studies show that one in five adults experience mental illness, yet less than half receive the support they need.

Many individuals do not seek mental health treatment because of a lack of resources or the feared stigma attached to mental illness. 

What You Can Do to Change the Conversation

The social distancing our community is currently practicing due to the pandemic can lead to increased feelings of fear, anxiety, depression, boredom, anger, frustration, irritability and even stigmitization. Learn to recognize these feelings and reach out to family, friends or other people in your support network or a trained professional to talk about your mental health.

FREE Confidential Lake County Mental Health Resources

With localized partnerships, United Way of Lake County aims to change the conversation about mental health. By providing access to quality, affordable health care, our agency partners and other health and human service agencies in Lake County are here to ensure our residents have access to any mental health resources they may need. If you are feeling overwhelmed, depressed, suicidal or dealing with other mental health challenges, one of these programs could help.


Crossroads Health:


Crossroads Health Coronavirus Warmline: 440-754-3340
Warmline Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am - 8 pm

Call the above number for help with COVID-related stress, anxiety or uncertainty


Virtual Support Groups (VSG):

Virtual group meetings last approximately one hour and are held on Tuesdays at 12 pm and on Thursdays at 6 pm

To access online log onto https://crossroadshealth.zoom.us/j/6044743547

You can also elect to participate by phone at 888-788-0098, Meeting I.D. 604-474-3547


Click here for more information about Crossroads Health.



Lake County ADAMS Board (Lake County Alchohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Service):



Lake County Crisis Hotline: 440-953-8255

Free help is available 24/7 at the abovre number for when you or a family member is experiencing overwhelming stress that impacts your ability to function normally. 


Lake County ADAMS Board Compass Line:  440-350-2000 or 440-918-2000

Call the Compass Line for information about all behavioral health services, including those relative to COVID-related stress or anxiety, and/or to explore tele-health options.


To visit Lake County ADAMHS online, click here.



NAMI Lake County (National Alliance on Mental Illness)


NAMI Lake County offers a place for ANYONE to come together virtually to share how they are handling their wellness during social distancing. The NAMI Lake County Wellness Chats are being held every day at 3:30 pm through Zoom or a phone call.


Join at https://zoom.us/j/222499295
or call in to(929)205-6099, Meeting ID 222499295


For more information on NAMI, click here now.


United we can change the conversation about mental health.



15 Games to Play at Home with Kids, Ages 3-5

Keep young kids engaged while they are at home
April 10, 2020

United Way of Lake County supports local parents by providing free tips, tools and resources to help all kids have a strong start. Get a preview with these 15 ideas.

At United Way of Lake County we invest in quality early childhood education programs in our community. We provide tools and resources that teach parents and caregivers facts and best practices for different ages and stages of a young child’s life. From engagement ideas and using everyday moments as learning activities to ways to spark language and learning skills, we provide information that helps ensure all kids get a strong start. 

Many parents have their kids at home right now and might be searching for ways to keep them engaged and entertained. We put our knowledge of childhood development to work and created a list of easy activities to do with kids age three to five.


Age 3

  1. Shape Jumper: Use scissors to cut out different shapes from construction paper. Tell the child to “jump on the circle” and “hop on a blue shape.”  

  2. Where I Live: Begin teaching your child your home address and phone number. Talk with your child about how each house has a number, and how their house or apartment is one of a series, each with its own number.

  3. Flip the Question: Children are especially curious at age three and ask “why” – a lot. Instead of giving the answer, try hesitating and then flipping the question to ask your child what they think.

  4. What Goes Where: Use everyday chores to teach kids to sort and organize. Make a pile of all the socks while folding laundry, have your child set the table or ask them to put toys of different types on different shelves when they are picking up (e.g., trucks go on this shelf and dolls go on this one).

  5. Find the Feeling: Mute a show you are viewing and watch with your child. Try to guess how the characters you see are feeling and explain what clues made you think people were happy, sad or mad. 

Age 4

Weather Watch: Create a chart to track the weather. Draw a grid for the month and ask your child to keep track of the weather with a symbol. The sun for sunny days, a raindrop for rainy days, a cloud for cloudy days and so on (you can use stickers too). At the end of a week, you can look back and see what type of weather happened most often, and count how many to be sure.

  1. Big/Little, High/Low: Look around the room, then point to an object. Ask the child if it is big or little or high or low. Take turns pointing at new objects.

  2. Tell Me a Story: Reverse storytime with your child. Instead of you telling them a story or reading a book, ask them to tell you a story. It could be a made up story or a story about their day.

  3. I Spy: Take turns with your child picking an object in the room and giving each other a hint. Start by saying “I spy with my little eye something…” and then give a hint about the object’s color, shape, size or other simple detail. To help kids with phonics, try a variation where the hint is the first letter the object’s name.

  4. Mirror, Mirror: Stand face to face with your child, about a foot apart, and have them attempt to copy all your movements. Reach up and stretch to the sky. Do 10 jumping jacks. Act like a monkey. Take turns so your child has a chance to be the leader.

Age 5

  1. Color Scavenger Hunt: This can be a great indoor or backyard activity. Make a list of colors and have your child find an object that matches each hue on the list. 

  2. Simon Says: One person is “Simon.” They stand in front of the family and tell the players what they must do. The players must only follow the directions when they begin with “Simon says.” Take turns being Simon.

  3. Freeze Dance: Play music and dance with your child, then hit pause in the middle of the song. Encourage your child to freeze in a fun pose or with a funny face. Try different styles and tempos of music. 

  4. Play “Store”: Set up a store with things around your house. Take turns with your child being the customer and store owner. 

  5. Beat & Repeat: Create a beat with two claps, and repeat. Then have your child repeat it. Take turns creating beats and repeating it.  Anytime someone misses, try again. Over time increase the beats to three, four, five and more.

How You Can Help Local Parents

Many parents in our community are facing financial hardships and need more support right now. They may have been laid off, furloughed or may have lost child care due to recent events. At United Way of Lake County, we are working with community partners to make sure parents get the support they need. When you give to our Lake County Relief Fund,  you make it possible for more parents to get help. Please consider donating today.



December 2018 United Way of Lake County Newsletter

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November 2018 United Way of Lake County Newsletter

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September 2018 United Way of Lake County Newsletter

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2-1-1: Help for All


When she was just 13, Sophia began struggling with depression. She had little energy, little appetite, and trouble sleeping. She tried therapy, hospitalization, and medication to manage her depression and the impulse to self-harm, but found herself thinking about suicide on more than one occasion.

She found out about 2-1-1 and called to speak to someone during some of her lowest moments, finding their support and kindness to be just what she needed.

“If I was home alone and tempted to self-harm or something…. they were always great at talking me through it,” said Sophia, who lives in Maryland.

Sophia is among the millions of people who rely on 2-1-1 for support and assistance during a mental health crisis or when seeking advice on behalf of a loved one. She is also one of the 16 million Americans who struggles with depression each year, and is part of a generation whose suicide rate has been increasing for the past few years. Unfortunately, too many people who struggle like Sophia did are lost to suicide each year—almost 45,000 people in the U.S. in 2016.

The recent deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade are tragic reminders that struggling with mental illness and suicidal thoughts don’t discriminate. Suicide impacts families across the U.S. regardless of race, ethnicity, income level, or employment status. Too many Americans can’t afford life-saving treatments and therapies, while many others aren’t even aware that resources exist or that the symptoms they notice in loved ones are indicative of a mental health crisis.

As we mourn the loss of Mr. Bourdain and Ms. Spade, we encourage you to learn more about the symptoms and signs of suicide ideation and to seek help if you are struggling.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255. If you need assistance finding a local counseling center, therapy option, or other resource, call 2-1-1 to speak to a specialist in your area.

May 2018 United Way of Lake County Newsletter

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February 2018 United Way of Lake County Newsletter

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January 2018 United Way of Lake County Newsletter

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November 2017 United Way of Lake County Newsletter

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October 2017 United Way of Lake County Newsletter

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Victims of Domestic Violence in Lake County Need our Help.

October 10, 2017
Tami Lewis

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In Lake County alone, 58 people per day are affected by domestic violence, and a full half of all police calls result from Domestic Violence. Furthermore, 1 in 5 women who are admitted to the ER are admitted for domestic violance related issues.  According to The National Domestic Violence Hotline, an average of 24 people per minute are victims of physical violence, rape or stalking by an intimate partner. The American Society for the Positive Care of Children reports that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have suffered from domestic violence by an intimate partner. 

According to The National Domestic Violence Hotline, domestic violence doesn't discriminate. Domestic violence affects people regardless of their socioeconomic background,education, age, race, sexual orientation, religion or gendor.  It  happens to people who are married, living together or who are dating. Anyone can be a victim or a perpetrator. 

Behaviors associated with domestic violence include those that physically harm, create fear, prevent a person from doing what they wish or forcing them to behave in ways they do not want. This includes the use of sexual and physical abuse, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation. Different forms of domestic violence and abuse can occur at once within the same relationship.

At United Way of Lake County we fight for the health, education and income of our community's most vulnerable, which includes victims suffering from domestic violence. Last year alone, 1,124 victims benefited from refuge and care due to the programs we help support. Thousands more received counseling and services through additional community programs we help service as well.

Lifeline's 2-1-1 Help Hotline (non-emergency)

Lifeline's 2-1-1 is a free and confidential service that we help support. It connects people in Lake County to essential health and human services 24/7. You can dial 2-1-1 toll-free from nearly any phone in Lake County to speak confidentially with an information and referral specialist who can help you find answers to a wide range of questions and connect you with area resources that may be able to offer assistance.   You can also search for health and human service programs on their website

Lifeline's 2-1-1 service is FREE and it's available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If dialing from a cell phone, depending on where you are geographically located when you make the call, you may reach another county's 2-1-1 service. If this is the case, be sure to ask if you are speaking with the Lake County 2-1-1. If not, you can ask to be transferred to Lake County's 2-1-1. Or, you can simply call Lake County's 2-1-1 office by dialing them direct at 440.639.4420.

It's important to note that 2-1-1 is NOT an emergency line. If you have an emergency - a situation that requires police, fire or medical personnel, for instance - you should call 9-1-1 immediately.

Forbe's House Domestic Violence Shelter

Forbes House is another one of our partner agencies whose domestic violence shelter we shelp support. They are the only domestic violence shelter in Lake County, Ohio and their non-disclosed location provides an ideal place for survivors in Northeast Ohio to heal from the trauma of abuse and rebuild their lives. Clients of Forbes House are matched with government and non-profit agencies in the area to find careers and long-term, safe housing. 

All services of Forbes House are provided free of charge and they have a 24/7 helpline. For help any time of day, every day of the year, Forbe's House can be reached at 440-357-1018 where trained advocates accept calls. Forbe's House legal advocates work to support victims of crimes in Lake County's courts. They also provide counseling for anyone who has been affected by domestic violence.

Domestic Abuse Warning Signs

According to The National Domestic Abuse Hotline, it isn't always easy at the start of a relationship to be able to tell if it will become abusive. In fact, many abusive partners may seem absolutely normal in a relationship's early states. Behaviors that are controlling or possessive in nature don't always just appear one day. Rather, these behaviors emerge and intesify as the relationship progresses. It's important to recognize that domestic violence doesn't look the same in every relationship because every relationship is different. But one thing most abusive relationships have in common is that the abuser does many different kinds of things to gain power and control over their partner. 

Some of the signs of an abusive relationship include a partner who:

  • Tells you that you can never do anything right
  • Shows extreme jealousy of your friends and time spent away
  • Keeps you or discourages you from seeing friends or family members
  • Insults, demeans or shames you with put-downs
  • Controls every penny spent in the household
  • Takes your money or refuses to give you money for necessary expenses
  • Looks at you or acts in ways that scare you
  • Controls who you see, where you go, or what you do
  • Prevents you from making your own decisions
  • Tells you that you are a bad parent or threatens to harm or take away your children
  • Prevents you from working or attending school
  • Destroys your property or threatens to hurt or kill your pets
  • Intimidates you with guns, knives or other weapons
  • Pressures you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
  • Pressures you to use drugs or alcohol

If you or a loved one is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1. In Lake County, Ohio, you can also call 2-1-1 or visit Lifeline's 2-1-1, which can help domestic violence victims find resources and services in Lake County, such as safe housing, health care, employment assistance and childcare.  Forbe's House is also available to help anytime, 24/7 at 440-357-1018.



September 2017 United Way of Lake County Newsletter

Click here to read all the latest from United Way of Lake County.

August 2017 United Way of Lake County Newsletter

August 28, 2017

Click here to read about all the latest from United Way of Lake County in our August 2017 newsletter.

5 Tips for a Smooth Back to School Transition from United Way of Lake County

August 17, 2017

Earlier sunsets, cooler mornings, and singing cicadas are the telltale clues that the back to school season is just around the corner. United Way of Lake County believes every child deserves a strong start in life. Below are five tips to help ensure a smooth transition back to school:

1.  Forms from School:  Check in with your child's school to see which forms need to be filled out and returned. Health forms may need to be signed by doctors, emergency contact information should be updated, school lunch preferences need documented, and any allergies need noted. These are all essential details schools need information about for the health and safety of children.

2.  Clothes:  Most kids grow over the summer so it's important to check and see which clothes still fit and what necessities need replaced. Keep your eyes and ears open because many retail outlets have back to school sales or tax free shopping days/weeks. If your child is required to wear a uniform, it's a good idea to check with your school to see if they have a "uniform swap," which is a really affordable way to get clothes that fit.

3.  School Supplies:  School supply lists seem to grow year after year so be sure to check your school's website to see the supply list and make sure you have everthing your child needs to be successful. It's always a good idea to let your child pick out their own supplies because it helps them feel a sense of control and ownership, which can help reduce any back to school anxiety.

4.  Bedtimes:  Begin reiging in the late summer bedtimes to get your child's nightime routine back on track. School age children should be getting about 10 hours of sleep per night in order to enjoy optimal concentration during the school day.

5.  Soothing Nervousness:  Returning back to school is scary for many children and nervousness and jitters are a real thing that can feel overwhelming to a child. They are meeting new teachers, getting reacquanted with classmates and meeting new ones as well, all the while trying to adjust to a new routine and expanded expectations of school performance. It's a lot to handle for a child. Your kind and gentle words of encouragement can help ease the stress of the entire back to school experience for your child.

At United Way of Lake County we believe that communities are successful when everyone's potential for success is optimized, especially that of children.