History of Mental Health Connect

A Brief History of our Nonprofit 

by Caroline S. Cooper

God Opened the Door

The history and stories in the Bible reveal that God has a plan for our lives. As we read the Bible, attend worship, and fellowship with others, we grow closer to the Lord and his plan grows more clear. With our eyes open, we can find the door he hopes we will enter.

Why?

“God, thank you for planting this passion in my heart.”

But, why aren’t things working out? Was I wrong about my purpose? In 2002, I had an emotional breakdown and spent ten days as an outpatient at a psychiatric hospital. After a successful period of healing and recovery, I first felt God’s nudge to help others. I had a plan, but ten years passed before I knew it with a couple of failed attempts and not much else. Yep, 10 years of ups and downs, belief and doubts, confusion and hope. 10 years before God opened the door to the establishment of Mental Health Connect of Missouri (original name, In God’s Corner Ministry), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. We want to share the history of God’s work.

The Winding Road

Before the Fall

1962 – I was born the second of four children and enjoyed a wonderful childhood in beautiful northwest Missouri. Looking back, I realize I experienced many not-so-wonderful moments. As a child, I struggled with depression, insomnia, isolating, and nonexistent social skills. I accepted those characteristics as part of my life. 

1983 – I married my college sweetheart and our lives were busy and eventful. We had four children (in seven years!). After my third child was born, I had postpartum depression. Soon after, additional symptoms of my undiagnosed mental illness escalated. I thought I had left the past behind. Something wasn’t quite right with me–the Mom, but my family’s unconditional love never wavered.

A Changed Life

2002 – Life caught up with me thirty years after a traumatic event in childhood. I had an emotional breakdown and I entered an outpatient program at a psychiatric hospital. My journey of recovery began.

2005 – After a few years of intensive therapy, I felt like a new person. I journaled throughout my recovery and turned my thoughts into a depression workbook to encourage others: “In This Corner: Battling Depression from Inside the Ring.” By 2008, I knew God’s plan involved more than one book. I attempted to start In This Corner Ministry inspired by the book. With lack of support and poor timing, the ministry didn’t work. I tried again a few years later with the same lack of results. I wondered if had been wrong about this calling.

A Nonprofit is Born

2012 – On July 22, 2012, God brought Jane Alexander to a depression support group I led. We quickly realized we had a special bond. For the first time, I met someone whose passion for promoting mental health awareness matched my own.2015 – Jane and I had many discussions about how we could turn our passion into the ministry I first envisioned 10 years before. I changed the name to In God’s Corner to reflect our faith-based approach.  

2020 – To better reflect our emphasis on mental health education, we changed the name to Mental Health Connect of Missouri. Still a faith-based organization, we want our name to represent our purpose.