Community mental health events aimed at highlighting local resources

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SOUTH BEND, Ind., --- May is mental health awareness month and it comes at a crucial time with a spike in gun violence across the nationally and locally, made much worse by the pandemic. Which is why community leaders held free events Friday to highlight local resources available.

“People are out of work, people are still having COVID effects and it’s just time to come together and say enough is enough and how can we start to end the stigma of mental health,” said South Bend City Council President Sharon McBride who also represents the third district.

McBride joined Mental Health Awareness of Michiana to put on a series of free mental health events Friday that shed light on other local organization and resources available to the community.

Something McBride believes the community could benefit from especially now.

“The gun violence uptick that we have, how tragic it is that people are putting guns in their hands and that people are losing family members and loss of life. It is just saddening and sickening for our community.”

The events come just days after a Michiana mother was shot and killed Tuesday less than a week after she buried her five-year-old son.

The little boy was accidentally shot and killed earlier this month.

“Right now no better time then especially the month of mental health month to try to recognize and just put your arms around each other and say we are in this together, we need one another,” explained McBride.

“We know that are people who are needed crisis intervention who are ending up in jails who would be much better served through the mental health system,” added Lisa Kelly, the President of Mental Health Awareness of Michiana.

Although suicides fell in 2020 nationwide, experts said those numbers rose among communities of colors in 2021 across the U.S.

According to Indiana health officials, suicides are the second leading cause of death for Hoosiers 10 to 34 years old.

City leaders hoped events like this shed light on the importance of mental health to not only help prevent these kinds of tragedies, but also violence in the community.

“Suicide rates have been up during the pandemic so we absolutely and substance abuse issues as well are up,” explained Kelly. So we really want people to know if they are struggling it’s important to know what resources are available and get help as quickly as possible.”

“…this is an outlet we have and I think by shining a light on it and having different resources available that parents, teachers, families, and kids can get help,” added McBride.

For more information on mental health resources click here.


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