YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Sunday marks World Mental Health Day and the tail end of Mental Health Awareness Week.
To raise awareness, the Mahoning Valley chapter of the National Alliance for Mental Illness held a mental health walk in Wick Park.
“It’s okay not to be okay, it’s okay to have a mental issue and to deal with that and that there’s support out there in the community for that,” said NAMI Mahoning Valley executive director Hope Haney.
Haney said they’ve been holding mental health walks in the Valley for over 10 years. Their goal is to address mental illness in our own lives and in the lives of family members and friends.
“I’m sure just about anybody listening or viewing right now would probably have at least one or two people in their lives that are mentally ill,” said NAMI Mahoning Valley board president Jessy Horkey.
Horkey said educating the public on mental health was the top priority. The event included booths with mental health experts who shared information with the community.
PAWS Therapy Team was one of the groups at the event so pups could offer mental health support.
Horkey said there’s still a large stigma around mental illness.
“NAMI is an organization that’s trying its best to get people to destigmatize and be more accepting of people with mental illness,” Horkey said.
He said it’s important to treat people with mental illness the same way you’d treat someone with any other type of illness.
The event also included live music and dancing.