Hope and help exist: come to annual mental health fair


The second annual free Mental Health and Alcohol and Drug Abuse Resource Fair in Sheboygan  County will be held 4:30-7:30 p.m. May 3 at RCS Empowers, 1607 Geele Ave., Sheboygan.

The purpose of the health fair is to provide education and awareness of resources for families, individuals and professionals  in Sheboygan County that promote good mental health and/or address  mental illness and alcohol and other drug abuse issues. Last year more than 263 community  members that included families, individuals and professionals attended the event with 98 percent reporting they learned about new resources and 61 percent reporting that their attitudes or behaviors  changed by attending the event.

Why come? Get answers  to help yourself or a loved one. There will be a free chance to win an iPad and many other door prizes. A kids corner will be available to keep kiddos  busy while parents find resources they need. Free food and refreshments  will be offered and more than 40 vendors will be present to share resources  they have that promote good mental health and/or address mental illness and alcohol and other drug abuse issues.

Even if you have no mental health issues or current concerns, mental disorders will affect one in four Americans each year and early intervention  is key. We should all strive to stay mentally healthy.

In other local mental health and resource news, Mental Health America in Sheboygan County is in the process of updating its Directory of Community Resources. The newly-redesigned 2016 Directory of Community  Resources is a comprehensive guide to community mental health and substance abuse services,  support and crisis lines, advocacy services, legal resources, youth and family services, employment  resources and more. The guide is a resource  for schools, law enforcement agencies, health care providers, community organizations,  families and individuals in Sheboygan County. If an organization or support group would like to be listed in the directory  or anyone interested  in working for an organization  that previously  has been listed but has not been contacted call 920-458-3951 or email jessica@  mhasheboygan.org. MHA is also working on developing an online, user-  friendly, therapist and support group searchable database in the coming months. Healthy Sheboygan County 2020’s Stigma subcommittee  is leading the effort with support from several sponsors - Aurora,  Homes for Independent  Living, Mental Health America in Sheboygan County, Prevea/ St. Nicholas Hospital, RCS Empowers, Sheboygan  County Service Providers  and Sargento. Every  day folks do find recovery,  help and hope for mental health and/or substance  abuse struggles.

Community wide efforts,  such as the resource  fair, are intended to help anyone find hope and create healthier communities  to live and play in.

Kate Baer is the cochair  of the Healthy Sheboygan  County 2020 Mental  Health and Substance Abuse Committee and executive  director of Mental Health America in Sheboygan County