‘You Are Not Alone’ Mental Health Forum Highlights Range of Local and Widespread Mental Health Issues

A mental health forum with a panel of eighteen speakers from various community sectors and mental health organizations drew about 70 people to Mountain Lake Park last Thursday. The event, ‘Foundations for Healing’, was the first segment of We the People Warwick’s ‘You Are Not Alone’ mental health series. Presenters represented clinical social workers, veterans, high school students, Orange County Department of Mental Health, Warwick Valley Prevention Coalition, Orange County Youth Bureau, and Mid-Hudson Prevention Resource Center, among others.

Speakers provided statistics and perspectives on the current state of mental health in Orange County and the country at large. Others have shared services and resources available through their organizations and staff or through individual initiatives.

According to mental health resilience team We the People Warwick (WTPW), which organized the event, one of the main aims of Part 1 of this series was to begin to break down common misperceptions and stigmas associated to mental illness so that in Part II community members can work together to identify and develop solutions to identified mental health needs in the community.

The reaction of the participants was overwhelmingly positive. Comments offered via an event survey completed that evening included: “What an inclusive, informative and thoughtful event. So good to see how many members of the community care about mental health. “I was very impressed with the breadth and diversity of speakers and how each agency does so much despite being understaffed and underfunded.” “I was afraid to come and show my face, but now I will come to all these forums. The speakers shared from their hearts as well as their experiences. Extremely beneficial, resourceful with so much sharing of information. Please have more!”

Participants were also asked about their interest in taking part in the community conversations envisioned for Part 2. WTPW founder Beverly Braxton and fellow organizers said the group is encouraged by the responses and believes they will be able to realize their vision of “forming a cross-industry coalition to identify components and pathways to make Warwick a resilient and supportive city. , and an inclusive community, using existing programs, human resources and community volunteers.

WTPW asks interested community members to stay tuned for more information on Part 2, visit the WTPW website at wethepeoplewarwick.org to view the video of the Part 1 discussion or email mail to [email protected] with your questions.

WTPW also expressed gratitude to Emmerich’s Greenhouses, Ochs Orchard, ShopRite, Price Chopper and Pennings Market for their contributions to the evening.

Robert M. Larson