Henry County Mental Health Alliance encouraged community members and children to acknowledge mental health challenges and celebrated those working through them.
CAMBRIDGE, Illinois — Henry County community members gathered at the College Square Park Sunday, Oct. 3 to celebrate mental health awareness.
Henry County Mental Health Alliance volunteers say they wanted to give the community a day of fun to encourage positivity.
“We wanted to be able to do something where we can come out and share, testimonies from people, so that all of us can hear that. And make people feel okay with their anxiety and their depression, and their challenges,” said John Taylor, Henry County Mental Health Alliance volunteer.
The event had spoken word, testimonies, food, live music and a petting zoo.
One speaker at the event says she’s happy people are having mental health conversations with children to help break a cycle of negative stigmas from early generations.
“People didn’t talk about it, people didn’t talk about mental health things, and that stigma was really unhealthy because I think a lot of people my age or older grew up not comfortable talking about their mental health with anybody,” said Ina Kuster, Mrs. Heartland US American Elegance 2021.
Volunteers say early conversation will make people more comfortable asking for help if needed.
“The earlier that we can reach people the earlier that we can let them know that it’s okay to not be okay,” said Taylor.
The organization partnered with a local author, Tom Akers, to showcase his new children’s book “Everett the Incredible”. The book is about bullying and will given to Henry County students grades 1 through 5.