LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR)-May is National Mental Health Awareness Month and Diamond Hill Baptist Church in Lynchburg is celebrating by hosting public events.
The first church activity was aimed at children and featured a video, guest speaker, games as well as shaved ice.
The second event is aimed at adults and will take place on Saturday, May 21 from 11 am to 1 pm
Saturday’s activity for kids allows students from elementary through high school to interact and learn more about mental health issues.
“We want these kids to be able to say openly,‘ I don’t feel good. I need to talk to someone. There is something wrong [or] I just feel not right, ‘”said former teacher Gloria Simon.
Simon said the pandemic started with a mental health crisis but brought mental health awareness out of the dark.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the second leading cause of death in people aged 10 to 24.
“We still see children who are depressed. We even see children commit suicide after two years of being alone. Thanks to COVID-19, we see more demand for events like we do now, ”said Simon.
High school student Gabby Mosley says mental health is always there but the pandemic brings an understanding of what it is.
“People are really starting to understand that there’s more to the level above that there’s a lot more going on deep down,” Mosley said.
Children learn to have someone they can trust and talk to about their mental health. If that person thinks the child needs professional help, they should take it in the next step.
“Informing the parent, talking to the child and if necessary going to the level of hiring a counselor, a therapist and making sure the child understands… ok ra,” Simon says.