LOWVILLE – May is Mental Health Awareness Month, announcing the lowering of “walls of stigma by sharing our experiences, stories and facts,” according to the Lewis County Mental Health Awareness Committee.
“It means educating others about what mental illness really is, and helping those with illnesses know that they are not alone,” the committee said.
The annual Lewis County Mental Health Awareness Walk was held on May 18 following the proclamation reading and balloon release at the Lewis County Fairgrounds.
Samuel Rubenzahl, a local psychologist, talks about the stigma surrounding mental health and points out that physical health does not hold the same negative connotations.
“Mental health is all the things that make us who we are including our creativity, but when we hear about mental health we tend to think negatively,” he said, adding that in his career he has seen progress but there is a lot of work to be done. to do.
Lewis County Legislature Lisa Virkler reads a proclamation for Mental Health Awareness Month.
Green balloons were released before about 55 people started their walk, most dressed in green, the color for mental health awareness.
Upon returning to the fairgrounds, a dinner was served for nearly 100 people and the winners of a county -wide competition were announced.
Throughout the month, businesses and residents are invited to help “paint the county green” by decorating with green decorations.
Lamanda Cook, Lewis County administrative assistant and family age advocate for NRCIL, said the event was designed to raise awareness and help combat the stigma of mental health.
“The idea is to squash stigmas as much as possible, to educate people about mental illness, and to make people aware of all the organizations that are here to help,” he said.
Representatives of NRCIL, The ARC of Oneida Lewis, Transitional Living Services and the Lewis County Suicide Prevention Coalition attended the event.