MADERA – The Madera County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday proclaimed the month of May as Mental Health Month, with various activities designed to help educate people about mental illness and raise awareness about mental health conditions.
Students from Madera South High School presented a video they made to raise awareness about mental health and the challenge to overcome the stigma surrounding such issues.
The students’ video, The Challenge, is entered in the Directing Change Student Video Contest, www.directingchange.org, and has already won at the school district level. They are now going on to the state level competition, the winner of which will be announced at the Directing Change awards ceremony on May 13 at the Crest Theater in Sacramento.
The students won a cash prize of $500, with another $500 going to the school program.
The first Mental Health Week was introduced in 1949. Each year, Behavioral Health Services requests that the supervisors adopt a resolution in the effort to raise awareness about mental health issues.
Mental Health Month is celebrated throughout the United States to raise awareness about depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. It also draws attention to suicide, which is predominately precipitated by some mental illness.
Madera County Behavioral Health Services has planned events throughout the month in effort to also help reduce the stigma and discrimination toward those with mental illness.
Artists from Oakhurst’s Mountain Wellness Center will display art in the Government Center lobby during the month. Other events include a brown bag lunch series for workforce staff members; a Mental Health Matters day with outreach events at the Camarena Community Health Fair from 9 to 11:30 a.m. on May 13; outreach event during Oakhurst Community Unity Day from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on May 8; and in North Fork at the Tribal TANF Resource Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 22.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is sponsoring its 12th annual NAMIWalks event on May 10 at Woodward Park. Teams from Behavioral Health and Hope House, a mental health socialization and drop-in center that the County department established in 2006, will be participating. Check-in time will be 7:30 a.m. The walk will start at 9:30 a.m.
For more information on NAMIWalks contact Lori Sholders, 227-4536.