Peace of Mind Walk 1

Peace of Mind supporters joined forces with supporters of the Stepping Up Initiative and the Peninsula Poverty Response Group for the 10th annual Mental Wellness Walk on Saturday. Pictured, left to right, is Perry Rutledge, Elly Rosaire, Nikki Fortuna and Nolan Carlson. Other key leaders not pictured included Barbara Bate, Doug Levitt and Rosanne McPhail.

LONG BEACH — For Judy Eron, a walk organized along the northern part of the Discovery Trail Saturday had a poignant meaning.

The Ocean Park resident was among those participating in the 10th annual Mental Wellness Walk. The event was organized by Peace of Mind Pacific County and supporters of the Stepping Up Initiative.

“My husband was bipolar and I lost him to suicide 23 years ago,” said Eron, who splits her time between the Peninsula and Texas. “This is a very important organization for me.”

More than 60 people signed up and organizers believe even more took part in the walk from the Bolstad Approach in Long Beach along the Discovery Trail to Clark’s Tree. The event featured a raffle and opportunity to learn more about services available to assist caregivers and people with mental health issues. Long Beach Mayor Jerry Phillips was among those on hand to give the walkers encouragement and support the causes.

Peace of Mind walk 2

Judy Eron of Ocean Park, left, signs up for the Peace of Mind 10th annual Mental Wellness Walk with help from Dawna Svaren and Arlene Strubelt, right.

Peace of Mind is a mental health advocacy group which grew out of earlier work under the umbrella of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

The Stepping Up Initiative is a campaign to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses who are incarcerated. An estimated 2 million people with serious mental issues are booked into American jails each year, many with substance abuse problems.

Leaders of the Peninsula Poverty Response group also highlighted their work at the event.

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