Together we are better

i understand recognizes the need for resources in our community to end the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental/brain health illness.

Partnerships with

Spectrum Health’s Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital

i understand funded a full-time clinical nurse specialist position, effective July 2017. This groundbreaking role is the first of its kind in the country. Nurse Ashleigh Nurski is dedicated to educating hospital staff on mental health and providing patients and families with educational resources, emotional support and i understand care packages following a mental health crisis.

Spectrum Health’s Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital – Sensory Playroom

i understand funded a Sensory Playroom that opened in March 2021. The room offers a calming retreat for children on the Autism Spectrum. This therapeutic space will serve as a quiet, safe and respectful place for children who are experiencing fear, anxiety and depression. Included in this room are sensory supplies and activities that are available to help a child calm down and avert crisis; the focus of control shifts from staff intervention to personal responsibility and self-regulation.

Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is so grateful for the continued support from i understand.  The new Sensory Playroom that was funded by their team will positively impact so many kids’ hospital stays by easing tension and anxiety through a visual and tactile experience. ” -Ashleigh Nurski – Spectrum Health

Nurse Ashleigh provides a behind the scenes look at the new Sensory Room.

More stories about

i understand Sensory Room at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital

Angeline McCall at FOX17 featured the importance of the new Sensory Room for patients at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in this informative story.

Jordan Carson featured the new i understand Senosry Room at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital on eightwest on WOOD-TV8. The room will allow young patients with mental health issues and sensory disorders, to visit an extraordinary space offering comfort and calm.

Maranda from WOOD-TV8 highlights the benefits of having a Sensory Room at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

Collaboration with

Michigan Sheriffs’ Association Victim Service Units

The Victim Service Units (VSU’s) within the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association are volunteers who accompany an officer into the family home of someone who has died by suicide. These officers show courage and compassion as they are supporting those who are devastated and confused after this type of loss as well as the stigma that surrounds it.

i understand is proud to support the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association VSU’s. We understand these volunteers have a very difficult job and we are honored to provide the VSU’S with updated, accurate and much needed resources. We applaud their passion and commitment displayed during their selfless work. i understand provided Courage and Compassion Recognition Certificates to all 574 Advocates within the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association 52 units throughout our state. Each Advocate also received a ‘tool kit’ that includes Vonnie’s book i understand pain, love and healing after suicide an info card, help card and a bookmark.

“I have been an Advocate for almost 20 years. I’ve responded to more suicide calls than I care to count; by far, they are the toughest call to go on. I wish I’d read Vonnie’s book 20 years ago.” -Pattie Thayer – Victim Services Coordinator

Vonnie Woodrick, founder of i understand, and Pattie Thayer, the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association Victim Service Units Coordinator join Jordan Carson to talk about their collaboration.

Pattie Thayer also joined Vonnie and Aaron on the Be the One podcast to discuss the need for updated resources such as Vonnie’s book included in the crisis bags given to families by the VSU’s to provide comfort and hope after such a devastating loss.