December 6, 2022
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First Lutheran Church to host new Community Mental Health Resource Fair – Brainerd Dispatch

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BRAINERD — Help is here for those dealing with mental health issues and mental illness.

First Lutheran Church will host the first Community Mental Health Resource Fair 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, at 424 S. Eighth St. in downtown Brainerd.

“It will be a good opportunity for people to come out, free of charge, and learn more about what those programs are, locally,” said Karen Johnson, a community health specialist for Crow Wing Energized, which is sponsoring the event.

Attendees can sit in on up to three of the following presentations: adverse childhood experiences, changing the narrative on mental health and suicide, recognizing lethal means used for suicide, Make It OK community campaign to reduce stigma around mental illness, resiliency, suicide prevention and more.


“This is the first time we are having this event,” Johnson said. “The overall goal is to offer these programs on a regular basis in our community.”

A light meal will be served and registration is required to attend, which can be done online at

bit.ly/3DDewHV

.

“We really wanted to reach out to people and find out what their needs are that we may not be aware of, so that’s kind of what spurred this idea,” Johnson said.

When Essentia Health conducted its Community Health Needs Assessment this spring, one area identified was the community’s mental well-being, Johnson said.

“When people were asked to rate the number of days they experienced ‘good mental health,’ it was noted people were experiencing fewer ‘good’ mental health days in the month compared to the survey conducted in 2018,” Johnson wrote in an earlier column for the

Brainerd Dispatch

.


The goal of the Community Mental Health Resource Fair is to reach out to people who are closest to the problem but are the furthest from the decision-making.

“You will also have an opportunity to attend breakout sessions to share your insight for the next step in this project: building a community resilience plan,” Johnson said.

The hope for the event is not only to help people, but to find people who are looking to help others.

“We also really want to get some new people trained because all of these programs typically are led by people that are volunteers. … We really do need more ambassadors to do that, so we can reach more people,” Johnson said. “Hopefully, they’re going to want to bring us back to the places where they work, where they worship … so that we can also go out into the community and do presentations.”

More than 70 people have registered online, as of Wednesday, Oct. 26.

“Something that came out of COVID is understanding that our mental health is important,” Johnson said. “We were isolated. Many of us had to switch to dealing with a virtual world, and I think we learned about how important it is to talk about your mental health.”

For more information about the Community Mental Health Resource Fair, visit

bit.ly/3DDewHV

.

FRANK LEE may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at

frank.lee@brainerddispatch.com

. Follow him on Twitter at

www.twitter.com/DispatchFL

.





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