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Events To Raise Awareness On Mental Health, Addiction

Events To Raise Awareness On Mental Health, Addiction

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church is preparing to celebrate its third annual Recovery Sunday in remembrance of those who struggle with mental health and addiction. The church has invited people to write prayers on fabric to be used as prayer flags in honor of recovery month.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Jamestown is hoping to raise awareness for mental health and increase the community’s understanding of the problem of addiction.

The church is partnering with the Mental Health Association to host events this weekend in remembrance of the 53 drug overdose victims from the past year.

This year marks the church’s third annual Recovery Sunday, although the church had held various services over the years highlighting mental health and recovery prior to establishing an annual tradition.

“Addiction and recovery isn’t just someone else’s problem; it’s our problem,” the Rev. Luke Fodor, rector at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, said. “We wanted to make sure the community had this as part of its collective remembrance.”

Jessica Frederick, minister of children, youth and families, said the church will honor the victims of drug overdose by hanging prayer flags from the top of the bell tower to the Main Street entrance of the church for this weekend’s events.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church is preparing to celebrate its third annual Recovery Sunday in remembrance of those who struggle with mental health and addiction. The church has invited people to write prayers on fabric to be used as prayer flags in honor of recovery month.

She said strips of fabric have been written on in honor of those who died from a drug overdose over the past year.

“On each of the strips, we have prayers for those who have died and also prayers for healing and wholeness of the recovery community We invited people to write their prayers on the strips of fabric.”


This year, St. Luke’s Recovery Sunday events will begin on Saturday.

“We made a whole weekend out of it,” Fodor said. “On Saturday, we will start with an art recovery show.”

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church is preparing to celebrate its third annual Recovery Sunday in remembrance of those who struggle with mental health and addiction. The church has invited people to write prayers on fabric to be used as prayer flags in honor of recovery month.
P-J photos by Timothy Frudd

Fodor said in partnership with the Mental Health Association, an art and recovery class works on art throughout the year, which will be displayed at the Undercroft at St. Luke at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Food and refreshments will be provided at the event, celebrating the second year of the church’s art display.

Some of the art from the show will also be incorporated into St. Luke’s Sunday morning service.

Fodor said one of the pieces featured at the church will be a piece that was inspired by an anger workshop.

“Sometimes we suppress our anger,” he said. “We don’t really deal with it and it pops up in inopportune times.”

The art therapy workshop provided this year allowed people to express their anger through art instead of actions. The art will be displayed before the altar at St. Luke’s for Recovery Sunday.

As part of Sunday’s service, the church bells will ring in remembrance of each person who has died as a result of overdosing in the past year. The service will incorporate a candle lighting, a reading of the names or initials for the victims of drug overdose and special music performed by people recovering from addiction.

After the service, there will be a narcan training available. The art exhibit from Saturday’s event will also be available for the public to view before and after the Sunday service. Additionally, Father Bernard’s Blessed Biscuits will be selling biscuits after Sunday’s service.

“We have a joint enterprise with the Mental Health Association of Father Bernard’s Blessed Biscuits,” Fodor said. “It’s a social enterprise where we sell dog biscuits. People who have fallen out of the workforce because of recovery issues or addiction or mental health can get back in the workforce slowly by learning some skills.”

The church’s Recovery Sunday reflects the commitment of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church to the idea that mental health is deeply connected with faith.

“This service is integral to the life of faith,” Fredrick said.


Recovery Sunday is one way Fodor believes the community ensure that the victims of drug abuse and drug overdose are remembered and honored.

One of the points Fodor wants to emphasize throughout the weekend’s events is the importance of connection.

“The opposite of addiction is connection,” he said. “So often, people feel disconnected, usually from themselves first and then the community, so they start to use various substances to deal with the pain. I think that’s true of all of us, whether it’s caffeine in the morning or whatever it is. We all have some sort of usage of chemicals to assist us to normalize our lives.”

St. Luke’s Recovery Sunday will attempt to remove the stigmatization of people who struggle with addiction and mental health.

Fodor said the community’s fear of people who struggle with mental illness or drug usage can lead to people passing judgment on them or labeling them as “outsiders.”

“My hope is that folks will see that this is something that we can make tangible steps by changing our minds,” he said. “So often, the mindset we use is part of the problem. My hope is that through these kind of collective actions that we will begin to realize that we can’t make them other, but realize that we are all part of the same issue.”

While Fodor acknowledged that the problem of mental health and drug abuse will not be solved “over night,” he believes the community can take steps to solve it by working together and having compassion for those who struggle with addiction.

Fodor said “real healing” occurs people have compassion for one another and work together to solve problems in the community.


Fodor believes the work of the Mental Health Organization represents the concepts of resurrection and regeneration.

“Lives that were seemingly dead come back to life,” he said.

Frederick said the church’s interactions with people struggling through mental health difficulties and drug usage should mirror the biblical example of Jesus.

“Jesus was always spending time with people that others would want to overlook,” she said. “This is an essential component of our faith to see people as people. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what mistakes you’ve made or how you’ve been wounded. We all carry wounds and we are all in some form of recovery. That is how Jesus saw and interacted with people.”

Fodor explained one of the key ways to successfully navigate the battle of addiction recovery is to provide meaningful connections with people.

While people may have the desire to feel “whole,” he believes the concept of wholeness cannot be achieved without the community working together.

“They need to be connected to something greater than themselves to find that,” he said.

The task of creating connections is something Fodor believes the church should be responsible for. He said the church should not expect people to attend the church to find help, but that the church should be involved in the community.

“Jesus talked about the 99 sheep that were fine but the one that was lost,” he said. “Sometimes we need to go out and look. By partnering with the Mental Health Association and by making public art displays, we’re trying to say and communicate ‘we’re looking for the lost.’”

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Art from the heart event Thursday supports local mental health

Art from the heart event Thursday supports local mental health

Organizers created the July 14 event to provide a safe space where people can participate in movement therapy and art workshops

From 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, July 14, the community can come out to the Kinbridge Community Association, at 200 Christopher Dr., for Art from the Heart.

The event was created by Rhythm and Blues Cambridge to support people’s mental health by coming together to process what happened over the last few years.

The ‘Processing Night’ will provide movement therapy and art workshops.

The organizers hope to provide a safe space where people can talk about their emotions, mental health and chat while having fun through, art, music and movement.

“In Jamaican culture when you’re grieving, we do something where you play a lot of music and let your feelings out,” said Krysanne Mclean, the organizer of the event and one of the founders of Rhythm and Blues. 

She mentioned how they wanted to show the community that there are different ways to grieve and let feelings out. Dancing is encouraged, she added.

Rhythm and Blues aims to provide safe spaces to empower, inform and inspire the Black community in the city.

“This year I wanted to focus on mental health and continue that in different forms.”

Mclean knows the pandemic has impacted people’s mental health locally and they want to provide events this year where people can feel connected again.

In addition to the unique non-traditional therapies and workshops at the event this evening, there will be face painting, food trucks and door prizes.

The three women who organized the event met during Rythm and Blues’ Black Girl Excellence program and wanted to create events where people can come let their feelings out, similar to how they do in their culture, which is generally more celebratory.

One of the organizers, Alannah Decker, is a local visual artist who will be conducting a Paint and Flow Music Healing Workshop.

“Alannah wanted to do art therapy in a different way,” said Mclean about the workshop.

The third organizer of Art from the Heart, Nicole Brown Faulknor, is a registered psychotherapist, child and youth worker, yoga instructor and embodied coach of ‘Mama Soul-House Rides.’

Faulknor will be hosting ‘yoga soul’ a movement therapy and stretch class, combining her passion for mental health with her knowledge of yoga.

“We can always be working on our mental health in different settings,” Mclean said.

The event is free and open to everyone.

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Global BC Supports The Canadian Mental Health Association – GlobalNews Events

Global BC Supports The Canadian Mental Health Association - GlobalNews Events

Give Hope Campaign
Through June

Through this pandemic, over a third of us say our mental health has declined. Together, we can help those who need it most.

The Canadian Mental Health Association provides mental health programs and services in your local community, and your gift makes it possible to support more people in need. Help give hope today at

Global BC is a proud sponsor.

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After Two Years of COVID-19, Americans’ Anxiety Turns to Global Events, Says APA Annual Mental Health Poll

Children’s Mental Health Also a Top Concern

NEW ORLEANS, May 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — According to the annual Healthy Minds Poll from the American Psychiatric Association, adults’ anxiety about COVID-19 is at its recorded lowest, with 50% indicating they’re anxious about it, down from 65% in 2021 and 75% in 2020. Instead, adults say they are somewhat or extremely anxious about current events happening around the world (73%), keeping themselves or their families safe (64%), or their health generally (60%).   

Overall, about a third of Americans (32%) said they were more anxious than last year, 46% said their level of anxiety was about the same, and 18% were less anxious. One-quarter (26%) indicated they had talked with a mental health care professional in the past few years, down from 34% in 2021. Hispanic (36%) and Black (35%) adults were more likely to have done so than white (25%) adults.  

The poll, conducted by Morning Consult between April 23 and 24, 2022, was among a sample of 2,210 adults. The interviews were conducted online, and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on gender, age, race, educational attainment, and region. Results from the full study have a margin of error of +/-2 percentage points.  

“It’s not surprising that recent events, such as the war in Ukraine, racially motivated mass shootings or the impacts of climate change, are weighing heavily on Americans’ minds,” said APA President Vivian Pender, M.D. “COVID-19 in a way has taken a back-seat, but the pandemic and its mental health effects are very much still with us. It’s important that we are cognizant of that and continue to work to ensure people who need psychiatric care, whether the causes are tied to the pandemic or to other issues, can access it.”  

Despite the backdrop of the Surgeon General’s recent advisory, Americans were less concerned about their children’s mental health than last year, with 41% of parents saying their children’s mental state concerned them this year compared to 53% saying so in 2021.  

Meanwhile, 40% of parents reported their children had received help from a mental health professional since the pandemic began. Of that group, 36% reported that they had sought help before the pandemic, and 50% indicated the pandemic had caused problems for their children’s mental health. A third of the group indicated they had encountered difficulties scheduling mental health care appointments for their children.  

“While the overall level of concern has dropped, still four in 10 parents are worried about how their children are doing, and a third are having issues with access to care,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “This is unacceptable and as a nation, we need to invest in the kind of systems that will ensure any parent who’s worried about their child has access to lifesaving treatment.”  

See other Healthy Minds Poll results on workplace mental health and government support. 

For a copy of the poll results, contact [email protected]

American Psychiatric Association
The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 37,000 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information, please visit

SOURCE American Psychiatric Association

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Events this week: Mental Health story times and documentaries, Cultural Voices, Teen/Tween Stress, SOLF meeting, Go the Distance, Community Read, NECC 5K, and Gardeners Show & Sale

Events this week: Mental Health story times and documentaries, Cultural Voices, Teen/Tween Stress, SOLF meeting, Go the Distance, Community Read, NECC 5K, and Gardeners Show & Sale

Here are highlights of what’s happening around town this week. Several of the events are tied into the Town’s Mental Health Awareness series.

Monday, May 16, 2022

  • Preschool Story Time – Mental Health Awareness Series (10:30 – 11:15 am) @ Southborough Library Children’s Room: Join Miss Kim for stories and craft based on a weekly theme. No registration required. This session will be part of Mental Health Awareness Month, with appropriately selected stories.
  • Bereavement Group (1:00 – 2: 00 pm) @ Southborough Senior Center: The Bereavement Group is a monthly support group is for ages 50 and older. To sign up to join the group, please call Leslie Chamberlin, R.N. at 508-229-4453.
  • Youth Writing Club (3:30 -4:30 pm) @ zoom: The Southborough Library is hosting this virtual creative writing club for ages 10-18. The zoom sessions are a fun and supportive space to get creative and build skills with peers. For details, see dedicated post.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

  • Strength Training Class for seniors (8:30 am) @ zoom: Pre-registration required. For details on semi-weekly class, see newsletter.
  • Advanced Tai Chi for seniors (9:45 am) @ zoom: Pre-registration required. For details on semi-weekly class, see newsletter.
  • Preschool Story Time – Mental Health Awareness Series (10:30 – 11:15 am) @ Southborough Library Children’s Room: Join Miss Kim for stories and craft based on a weekly theme. No registration required. This session will be part of Mental Health Awareness Month, with appropriately selected stories.
  • Senior Songsters (11:00 am) @ Southborough Senior Center: Weekly rehearsal for the singing group open to all area seniors regardless of singing ability. For details, see dedicated post.
  • Bridge (12:00 pm) @ Southborough Senior Center: A weekly card group, welcoming new participants. For details, contact the Senior Center at 508-229-4453.
  • Knitting Club (1:00 pm) @ Southborough Senior Center: Knitters, welcoming new members. For details, contact the Senior Center at 508-229-4453.
  • Tuesday Tech Time (4:00 – 5:00 pm) @ Southborough Library Teen Room: Need help with technology? Library staff and teen volunteers will make every effort to assist you. Bring questions about ebooks and electronic resources. This is a drop in event; no registrations necessary. Sessions are limited to no more than 1 hour.
  • Cultural Voices: Sebastian Ebarb (7:00 – 8:00 pm) @ zoom: Southborough Library program featuring a speaker about modern Native American cultural identity. Sponsored by The Friends of the Southborough Library. For details, see dedicated post.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

  • Walking Group for Seniors (8:30 am) @ Southborough cemetery, 11 Cordaville Road: Free walking group organized by the Southborough Senior Center, see newsletter. Walkers generally go for an hour, but continue for as long as you wish. The location is a loop, so feel free to join late.
  • Young Scientists STEM Beginnings (10:30 – 11:30 am) @ Southborough Library Children’s Room: A free in-person series for children, ages 3-6 to learn STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) concepts through hands-on activities, story time and simple experiments. The program through the Southborough Library is sponsored by the YMCA Family & Community Partnership.
  • For Parents – Managing Teen and Tween Stress (12:00 – 1:00 pm) @ zoom: Parents are invited by Southborough Youth & Family Services to this “discussion on reframing your child’s emotions and behavior and how to respond and support them while maintaining healthy boundaries.” For details, see related posts.
  • SOLF Annual Meeting with Naturalist Presentation (6:00 pm) @ Community House, 28 Main Street: The public is invited to attend Southborough Open Land Foundation’s annual meeting. It includes a presentation by wildlife author Peter Alden. For details, see dedicated post.
  • Southborough Rotary Club – Mental Health Awareness Series (7:00 pm) @ Southborough Library: This meeting of the Rotary Club (open to the public) will feature Southborough Youth & Family Services’ Director Sarah Cassell to speak about the department’s mission and services. This event is part of the Town’s series for Mental Health Awareness month. For details, see related posts.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

  • Strength Training Class for seniors (8:30 am) @ Southborough Senior Center: Pre-registration required. For details on semi-weekly class, see newsletter.
  • Advanced Tai Chi for seniors (9:45 am) @ zoom: Pre-registration required. For details on semi-weekly class, see newsletter.
  • Mah Jongg (10:00 am) @ Southborough Senior Center: The weekly program would love new players to join. Feel free to stop by to watch or talk to one of the players to see if you would be interested. For details, contact the Senior Center at 508-229-4453.
  • Baby/Toddler Storytime – Mental Health Awareness Series (11:00 – 11:45 am) @ Southborough Library Children’s Room: This story time is for children age 0-2 years and their parents or caregivers. Each session will include puppets, stories, and music. No registration required. This session will be part of Mental Health Awareness Month, with appropriately selected stories.
  • Chair Yoga for seniors (12:30 pm) @ Southborough Senior Center: Pre-registration required. For details on weekly class, see newsletter.
  • NSPAC’s “Go the Distance” Awards Night (6:00 – 7:30 pm) @ Algonquin Regional High School: The Northborough/Southborough Special Education Parent Advisory Council (NSPAC) will host its 12th annual “Go the Distance” Appreciation Awards evening. For details, see dedicated post.
  • Community Read Discussion (7:00 pm) @ zoom: A virtual community discussion of Brené Brown’s book “Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone”.This event is part of the Town’s series for Mental Health Awareness month. For details, see related posts.
  • Genealogy Club (7:00 – 8:30 pm) @ Southborough Library, main floor: This is an informal group meeting where you can learn and share tips about resources for researching family history. Group meetings are free and open to the public. Bring your laptop, log into at the library, and join in.

Friday, May 20, 2022

  • Canasta (10:00 am) @ Southborough Senior Center: A weekly card group. For details, contact the Senior Center at 508-229-4453.
  • Dull Men’s Club (10:00 am) @ zoom: Casual social club for senior men. New members are always welcome to drop in. For details, see dedicated post.
  • Outdoor Pre-K Yoga (10:30 – 11:15 am) @ Southborough Library Lawn: Yoga program for 3-6 year olds (and siblings and caregivers). Registration is required. For details, see dedicated post.
  • Decompression Session (3:30 – 4:30 pm) @ Southborough Library Teen Room: 12 – 18 year olds are invited to destress. Stop by the teen room for a chill atmosphere with a therapy dog and other activities. For details, see dedicated post.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

  • Southborough Gardeners Flower Show & Plant Sale (8:00 am – 1:00 pm) @ Southborough Gardeners Flower Show & Plant Sale: The Gardeners celebrate 50 years, with a special exhibit – “A feast for the eyes with over 30 arrangements” made by members of the club. The special arrangements will be raffled off to attendees at the end of the event. Admission is free. At the event, the group will also be selling “locally grown perennials and annuals. For details, see dedicated post.
  • NECC 5K for Autism (8:30 am – 2:30 pm) @ Neary School campus, 53 Parkerville Road: New England Center for Children’s 16th Annual Walk/Run for Autism. Registration is free this year. For details on the fundraiser for autism research and education, see dedicated post.
  • Community Watch: Resilience (12:00 – 1:00 pm) @ Southborough Library upper level: Screening of documentary “Resilience: the Biology of Stress & the Science of Hope”. This event is part of the Town’s series for Mental Health Awareness month. A short discussion of the film will follow the screening. For details, see related posts.
  • Community Watch: Paper Tigers (1:00 – 3:00 pm) @ Southborough Library upper level: Screening of documentary “Paper Tigers: One High School’s Unlikely Success Story”. This event is part of the Town’s series for Mental Health Awareness month. A short discussion of the film will follow the screening. For details, see related posts.

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Out & About: May events focus on mental health

Out & About: May events focus on mental health

When it comes to mental health, addressing the topic head-on can be difficult. Even admitting that help is needed can present its own set of challenges.

“When you finally decide you need help, it’s the point of no return,” Jeff Harms said. “Then you have to start the process and be patient at the same time. It’s not always easy.”

Harms is president of the New England Ram Club. The truck club is organizing “A Beacon of Hope Auto Show” at the White River Junction VA Medical Center from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month. A blessing of the bikes will take place at the start of the event, which will feature trucks, cars and motorcycles of any make or model. Participants are encouraged to register in advance at, or they can show up the day of the event. There is no charge to participate and it is open to both civilians and veterans. In addition to the vehicles, various mental health-based organizations will have booths set up with information about their services and ways to get help.

“If we get the information out there in a fun way for people who wouldn’t normally get it, it’s one step closer to someone getting the help they need,” said Harms, of Cambridge, Vt.

The auto show is one of numerous events in the Upper Valley this month.

While mental health may be a focus, it’s not the only focus. In some ways, the events represent of a shift in the way health care providers address mental health.

“Mental health in general is moving to a wellness model, a whole-health model,” said Dr. Michelle Nerish, suicide prevention coordinator at the VA.

Instead of focusing solely on talk therapy and medication, there are more programs for recreational and art therapy, among other forms of alternative therapy.

The auto show is a way of doing that and so far the response is nothing like VA public affairs officer Katherine Tang has seen before: As of Friday morning, 65 vehicles had been registered.

“The response that we have seen is mind-blowing to me,” she said. “We have resources from across Vermont coming — not just veterans but civilians as well, which is huge.”

While Nerish will give a brief suicide prevention presentation at noon, much of the information will be available for people to access on their own. It can be difficult for veterans to ask for help, because in many ways it goes against what they learned when they served, she said.

“Your entire military training is pretty much the opposite of what we do in mental health,” Nerish said. “Now in mental health we’re asking you to please share everything that’s going on inside and don’t worry about what it looks like on the outside.”

One of the reasons Harms wanted to host an auto show at the VA was to reframe the perception of asking for help — particularly among men.

“My goal is to break that stigma … that it’s OK not to be OK,” he said.

To reach the Veterans Crisis Line, call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, text 838255, or chat online at

Art show and poetry reading

For the second year in a row, West Central Behavioral Health and AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon are joining together for an art exhibit focused on mental health. Called “The Thing With Feathers,” the exhibit is on display through May 21. There will be a reception for the 19 participating artists and a community poetry reading from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday.

The poetry reading is new this year and the 10 participants have been asked to read poems centered on “hope.” Among the area poets reading are Betsy Vickers and former New Hampshire poet laureate Alice Fogel.

“When we look at a piece of art or read a poem, we’re already responding emotionally, and that’s a really fruitful place to start to think about who we are and how we’ve been wounded and how we can be healed,” Fogel said. “It’s also a shared language so that it may make us feel less alone.”

Vickers, who teaches at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Dartmouth, decided to participate in the event to help raise awareness of the mental health needs in the community.

“Poetry can be an outlet, a place to put thoughts and ideas, to externalize rather than keep it inside,” she said. “Any kind of creative endeavor, making things, you make poems and you make art and so forth is a way of expressing deep feeling.”

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, call or text 1-833-710-6477 for 24/7 behavioral health crisis support.

We R H.O.P.E. gala

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health coaches with We R H.O.P.E., which provides assistance to students in schools, have started to see kids on their radar that haven’t been before.

“The everyday kid that was A-OK is not OK,” said Sean Perry, founder and president of the Chester,Vt.-based nonprofit organization, that serves schools in the Twin States and beyond. “What does that say about the power of being shut off from the power of human connection?”

More youths were dealing with anxiety and depression with suicidal thoughts, which Perry and others tied to a lack of human connection. Remote learning made students feel disconnected from their peers. Those who relied on school to get away from a difficult home life no longer had that outlet.

“A lot of kids … all of a sudden started feeling hopeless and they couldn’t explain why,” Perry said.

Then when students returned to school they had to transition again. Suddenly, they were on stricter schedules than they were with online learning.

“I think that has caused a lot of anxiety for kids,” Perry said. “You’re seeing a lot more outbursts and frustration, anger and behaviors which are related to the anxiety that they’re feeling for being back in the building.”

As a way to highlight the increase in the work they’re doing with children, We R H.O.P.E. is hosting a youth mental health gala titled “Changing the Mental Health Culture” at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at the Quechee Inn at Marshland Farm. The event features five speakers who will discuss mental health topics, musical performances and an auction. Tickets cost $75. Those who cannot attend in person can purchase a $5 ticket to stream via Zoom. For more information, visit

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at or 603-727-3221.

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Utah events, awareness day spark conversations to reduce stigma of mental health challenges

Labeled Fest, held between Thursday and Saturday in Salt Lake City, gave an opportunity for people to talk about mental illnesses during Mental Health Month in May.

Labeled Fest, held between Thursday and Saturday in Salt Lake City, gave an opportunity for people to talk about mental illnesses during Mental Health Month in May. (Emily Ashcraft,

Estimated read time: 6-7 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Many people are trying to normalize conversations about mental health and work towards ending a stigma around metal health that can sometimes keep people from getting needed support.

May is Mental Health Month, and is a good time for people to take some time to consider how they can help. Labeled Fest, which was held Thursday, Friday and Saturday, hosted many presentations geared toward normalizing mental health conversations and focusing on positive labels.

“Really mental health is a superpower, you know, and if we can all see that as a positive label instead of a negative label then we can all enhance the community around us,” Brian Higgins said.

Higgins is the creative director of Mental Healthy F.i.T., which stands for films, ideas and tips, the organization that hosted the event. It is a nonprofit advocacy organization that helps people tell their stories, whether they are about mental health issues or other challenges.

Labeled Fest is held once a year as a place for people who have been involved in the organization’s other events showcase things they have created or learned at workshops throughout the year, according to Higgins.

Higgins said that this event is designed to help people look at positive labels associated with mental health like “creative,” “empathetic” and “connection.” They chose to host the event at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts because of the connection between many artists and mental health.

He said statistics show that one-fifth of people have a diagnosed mental health issue, but that really everyone deals with mental health issues.

“Mental health affects us all,” Higgins said.

The organization also focuses on how to help those who are homeless, Higgins suggested that the easiest way to help homeless people is to smile and give the people some of your time. He said ignoring homelessness also means ignoring people. Higgins was homeless himself for more than 18 months, and said that homeless people are not very different from other people.

“Homelessness can happen to anybody,” he said.

At Labeled Fest, and throughout its other events, Mental Healthy F.i.T is creating kits for homeless people with small things like socks and toiletries and also cards with information about resources.

Higgins said that it is incredible to hold the event in person again.

“There’s just a real energy and a magic to getting people together for a common goal,” Higgins said.

Damon Talbot was involved in Labeled Fest and did a “performative slideshow” which was designed to show that accepting a situation or mental health condition can help improve a person’s outlook, which he said many people told him was inspiring. He is a member of Alliance House, which is a program in Salt Lake City to assist adults with mental illness lead productive lives.

He said a person with mental illness can be successful, even though they will have hard days.

Talbot said for many years after he was diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder, he stayed home and would isolate and not talk to people, but after he accepted it, he was able to become part of the community again and meet others who were going through the same things. He said community events like Labeled Fest help people to realize that mental illnesses don’t need to ruin their lives.

“So many people that are going through mental illness … they don’t talk about it, so an event like this where you can be vulnerable, you can come out and talk about it is really impactful,” Talbot said.

He said it is important to remember that those with mental illness are like everybody else, they want connections and for people to reach out and acknowledge them. He said people don’t have to necessarily walk on eggshells around people with mental health concerns, but that it can be helpful to take time to learn about their challenges.

Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

May is a month for mental health awareness, but more specifically, Saturday is a day to focus on awareness for children’s mental health. Gov. Spencer Cox declared the day Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day in Utah, and the day is also acknowledged nationally.

Rebecca Dutson, president and CEO of The Children’s Center Utah, said a big part of the day is reducing the stigma around mental health challenges that people, especially young people, face.

“I think we need to spend more time helping people understand that our very tiniest people, our little children have mental health. And they have mental health concerns,” Dutson said.

She said many people don’t stop to realize that infants, toddlers and preschoolers have mental health concerns, but that addressing these early can change the trajectory of that child’s life. She also said acknowledging the issue can lead to more solutions.

She said that parents should not hesitate, if they have a concern about their child’s mental health, to reach out to a physician, The Children’s Center Utah or other resources to get help for their child. She said that parents and caregivers know their children best, and can recognize when something is different, whether the child is more withdrawn or acting up.

“When you feel that something isn’t quite right, we encourage families to reach out to their pediatricians and begin a conversation,” Dutson said.

The Children’s Center Utah helps children between birth and 6 years old with mental health challenges. Dutson said their clinical team uses trauma-informed and evidence-based treatments that are individualized based on the specific child’s experience and needs.

Dutson said the last two years during the coronavirus pandemic have had an impact on everyone’s mental health; as children were pulled out of school, families were isolated and there were a lot of unknowns, it caused stress for adults, which can increase the mental health concerns for their children.

“I think one of the most important things is that, as families and as a society … we should be talking about it more. It’s foundational to our well-being,” Dutson said.

She said that there are times that everyone needs more help, and that families should normalize talking about mental health.

Suicide prevention concert

Utah performer Alex Boye is headlining what is billed as the state’s first-ever suicide prevention concert at 7 p.m. at the Maverik Center, continuing the focus on mental health. Tickets were free but distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

“Utah has the six highest suicide rate in the U.S.,” Boye said. “Music saved my life and I know it can do the same for others, which is why I do these concerts. Our concept is simple: Use these concerts to help build connections, healing and support in our community. This will be an unforgettable night that will feed your soul, and save lives; this is not just a concert … It is an experience.”

Emily Ashcraft joined as a reporter in 2021. She covers courts and legal affairs, as well as health, faith and religion news.

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Extreme weather events have strained farmers’ mental health. But asking for help still a hurdle for many | CBC Radio

Extreme weather events have strained farmers' mental health. But asking for help still a hurdle for many | CBC Radio

The past year has not been easy for farmers in B.C. like Julia Smith.

In the summer of 2021, a heat dome trapped dangerously high temperatures over the province. Wildfires in B.C.’s Interior spread flames and smoke across the landscape, destroying the town of Lytton and threatening Smith’s farm and ranch in the Nicola Valley.

“We were actually having to evacuate cattle off the range because they were kind of in harm’s way,” she told CBC Radio’s What on Earth. “Holy smokes, that fire came through like a tornado.”

And that wasn’t the end of it. In November, a series of atmospheric rivers flooded the province, inundating farmland that had endured blistering heat just months before.

Julia Smith is a farmer and rancher based in B.C.’s Nicola Valley. She says the extreme weather events have had a serious impact on her mental health and that of other farmers and their families. (Submitted by Julia Smith)

Smith says some of her friends and neighbours lost equipment, animals and hectares of land last year. She helped some of them evacuate their homes or move animals to safer ground. By the end of the year, she felt as though she’d hit a wall.

“I just really started to burn out pretty hard,” she said. “You feel guilty because you didn’t lose as much as some people, but you just want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over your head. But you can’t, because there’s so many terrible things going on.”

Extreme weather changing how farmers work

Farmers’ lives and work have always been subject to the unpredictability of weather. But as the impacts of climate change on weather become more apparent, that unpredictability is becoming greater.

Farmers who, for generations, had guaranteed times for harvests, for example, are finding they no longer do.

Recent studies suggest farmers have higher levels of stress than the general population. According to a report from the Cambridge Times, uncertainty around the ongoing climate crisis — as well as the COVID-19 pandemic — have made those problems worse.

Briana Hagen, a postdoctoral researcher who studies farmers’ mental health at the University of Guelph in Ontario, says farmers she’s spoken to recently cited the impacts of climate change as a major cause of anxiety and depression. She’s currently working on synthesizing those conversations into a more in-depth analysis on the topic.

“The extreme weather that happens season to season has made the farming process fundamentally different, more challenging and less predictable,” she said.

WATCH | An Ontario farmer shares strategies for tackling effects of climate change:

An Ontario farmer addresses climate change amid the pandemic

A small farmer in Ontario is on a mission to make a difference in the fight against climate change. He believes the pandemic could be an opportunity to tackle our biggest environmental problem. 5:04

Finances an added stressor

The stress of adapting to these changes financially, let alone recovering from damage already done, adds another layer of difficulty for farmers. 

Soon after the November floods, the B.C. government promised that financial help was on the way for farmers who had endured the onslaught of traumatic events.

But Nicole Kooyman, who runs a poultry farm with her husband in the Fraser Valley, says for many farmers, navigating the paperwork to access those supports compounded the anxiety. 

“It’s just an extra stress on what we’ve already went through, and that is what’s going to push people over the edge,” she said. 

Smith attends to some of her animals on her Nicola Valley farm. (Tori Ball/Submitted by Julia Smith)

B.C.’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food told What on Earth it established a flood-recovery program worth $228 million and is processing claims from farmers on a regular basis. In addition, Emergency Management B.C. says it has added staff and has been working evenings and weekends to deal with the applications.

The nonprofit organization AgSafe BC offers some resources as well, including free counselling for B.C. farmers, but Smith says farmers don’t always have the capacity to make use of them.

“It’s the bottom of the list when you’re dealing with literally life-and-death situations,” she said. “You can’t stop and check in with yourself. What if you’re not OK? What if you fall apart? … You can’t really look it in the eye, because it might overwhelm you.”

Mental health stigma persists

Hagen says some farmers are hesitant to seek help even if they know they need it. The image of a hardworking, self-sufficient, stoic farmer endures and can be a real barrier to reaching out.

“People don’t want to be seen as weak,” she said.

Last November’s flooding came after Avtar Dhillon, a farmer in Abbotsford, B.C., invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in planting what would have been the province’s first crop of saffron.

He ended up losing all of it, as well as 90 per cent of his blueberry crop. Before that, during the heat dome, he’d lost half his blueberry crop.

Avtar Dhillon working at a saffron patch on his farm in early November 2021, before floods devastated his crop. (Gian Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

There are many Indo-Canadian blueberry farmers like Dhillon in the Fraser Valley who have been impacted by natural disasters, but, he says, very few want to reach out for mental health or emotional support.

“I know many farmers [who are] already suffering with their mental health,” he said. “Nobody wants to say, ‘I have a problem,’ but … we really need help.”

What’s more, for the many farmers who live in small towns, the stigma that persists about mental illness means someone might want to hide the fact they need or are already getting help for fear others in the community might find out.

The Khukhrana Blueberry Farm in Arnold, B.C., about 15 km southeast from Dhillon’s farm, after a damaging flood destroyed crops in November 2021. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

New programs address farmers’ unique challenges

In 2019, Hagen and her colleague Andria Jones-Bitton co-created a program called In the Know, which Hagen describes as a farm-specific, mental-health literacy training program. It aims to provide farmers with information about mental health, including recognizing signs and symptoms of mental health stress, as well as how to get help.

Hagen and Jones-Bitton also developed what’s known as the emergency-response model for mental health during agricultural crises, a set of guidelines that address the specific challenges farmers face.

“If you don’t have the farming context down, you’re not going to be able to help effectively,” Hagen said.

Briana Hagen is a postdoctoral researchers who studies farmers’ mental health at the University of Guelph in Ontario. (Submitted by Briana Hagen)

Deborah Vanberkel, a psychotherapist whose family runs a dairy farm in Odessa, Ont., founded the Farmer Wellness Program in Ontario for many of the same reasons. 

“I kept hearing from all our farmer friends … that when they wanted to talk to somebody, it was, ‘Who is going to understand my lifestyle? How are they going to understand?'” she said.

“This is why we need to have therapists to have that [agriculture] background, so that these barriers are removed and they [farmers] can come in and start talking about the problems that they’re having and be able to have that person relate back to them without having to explain all the details or nitty-gritty about farming itself.”

Vanberkel’s wellness program was modelled on a similar one in P.E.I., and a third launched in Manitoba more recently. But gaps remain in other parts of the country.

“We need to expand all of these types of farmer wellness programs across Canada … so that all farmers can access services that are tailored for themselves and their families,” Vanberkel said. 

Written by Jonathan Ore. Produced by Rachel Sanders.

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Global Edmonton supports: Level Up for Kids Mental Health – GlobalNews Events

Global Edmonton supports: Level Up for Kids Mental Health - GlobalNews Events

Five Ways to help kids, youth and their families with the mental health supports they need:

  • Give $5 to Thrive – Will you give $5 to level up on kids’ mental health so that they may thrive? If 10,000 Albertans gave $5, we will hit our fundraising goal.
  • THRIVE Stream-a-thon – Hear from CASA’s Medical Director and a family during a one-hour, virtual stream-a-thon, including music by local artist Karimah, hosted by Ryan Jespersen – May 5. Click here to register!
  • Become a monthly donor on May 5th at $5+ a month and receive a THRIVE DAY t-shirt.
  • Thrive Gala May 13 – buy a ticket or a table
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Franklin County Mental Health Awareness month events planned | News, Sports, Jobs

Lake Placid to host eight major events in March | News, Sports, Jobs

MALONE — In observance of Mental Health Awareness Month, the Franklin County Suicide Prevention Coalition, Community Connections of Franklin County and North Country Community College are planning events for the first week of May.

The first event is set for 2 to 6 p.m. May 2 at Malone’s NCCC campus, 61 William St. The second event is scheduled for 2 to 6 p.m. May 4 at the Saranac Lake NCCC campus, 23 Santanoni Ave.

The events aim to provide information about resources available locally for people with mental health needs and challenge common apprehensions about mental health concerns and seeking help.

Sarah DiOrio, lead family coordinator for Community Connections and co-chair of the Suicide Prevention Coalition, said that both events are family-oriented and will include activities for youth, a bounce house, face painting and an interactive art table.

Local artist Shelley Shutler will return to this year’s events. She will perform music and lead discussions on recovery.

“Shelley’s music and discussion last year really resonated with community members, and we are so excited to have her join us again,” DiOrio said in a news release. “Several agencies and organizations will be at the event as well, providing valuable information about services and programs available throughout Franklin County.”

A community art showcase called, “The Many ‘Faces’ of Mental Health,” is also planned. People interested in having their art showcased may submit pieced at the following locations:

In Malone, artwork can be submitted from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays to Sarah DiOrio or Allyssa LaBombard at Community Connections, 7 Pearl St.

In Saranac Lake, artwork can be submitted from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays to Rachel Stender or Zeanna Reyome at Saranac Lake High School, 141 Petrova Ave.; from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays at Door 17; or from 2 to 7 p.m. weekdays to Aleacia Landon at the Saranac Lake Youth Center, 29 Woodruff St.

In Tupper Lake, artwork can be submitted from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays to Brenna Crouse or John Seemueller at the Tupper Lake Outreach Center, 64 Demars Blvd.

DiOrio said that all artwork will be returned to artists after the events.

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