Mental Health Awareness Walk takes place in Watertown on Wednesday | WWTI

WATERTOWN, NY (WWTI) – The Jefferson County Mental Health Awareness Committee is hosting the 17thth annual mental health awareness walk in Watertown on May 18th.

The walking tour begins at 10:30 AM at the Dulles State Office Building on Washington Street and proceeds to the Thompson Park Pavilion. Registration for the event begins at 8:30 a.m. in the State Office Building.

The kickoff begins at 9 a.m. with a proclamation from Bill Johnson, chairman of the Jefferson County Board of Legislators. Guest speaker is Licensed Mental Health Counselor Rodger Hicks. Robert Bowen, behavioral health and substance abuse coordinator at North Country Family Health Center, explained the inspiration for the event.

“I think the inspiration was that there was such a stigma and that all these different agencies were working so hard to stop the stigma and that we felt like maybe we could come out and show what mental wellbeing is like, what mental health awareness looks like,” Bowen said. “Wearing green to show that this is a viable thing. This is something that about 50% of people in our country go through, according to the CDC.”

Bowen emphasized the importance of focusing on mental health, keeping our minds healthy, and having the tools to do so.

“Everybody over the past few years has really understood that mental health really matters,” Bowen said. “It’s like medical health. It is about your health. It’s about your wellbeing and maintaining that wellbeing, and too often or not we’re not really taught how to maintain that wellbeing.”

Mental health resources at the event include representatives from North Country Family Health Center, Samaritan Medical Center, Anchor Recovery Center of Northern New York, Arc Jefferson-St. Lawrence, Transition Living Services, Credo Community Center, Planned Parenthood, NRCIL, the Jefferson Couty Children’s Home and the Jefferson County Mental Health Association. Bowen said it’s important to provide the public with the information they need to promote mental health.

“Raising awareness that this can happen, that there is someone you can call, that there are resources anyone can turn to, again that’s where we can remedy or help someone with their struggles” said Bowen .

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