Walk for mental health

<p>Some local people participating in this Saturday’s Mental Health and Wellness Walk will include (standing left to right) Windy Strutz, Jennie Fox, Carole Wiegardt, Emily MacDonald, Steffanie Castaneda, Erin Moore, James Miller and (crouching) Rosi Sartwell. Not pictured: Kat Erskine.</p><p></p>

    LONG BEACH — Friends, family, community — these words are at the center of the third annual Mental Health and Wellness Walk in Long Beach this Saturday, May 19, at 9 a.m.

    Since the start of the Peninsula’s Walk in May 2010, NAMI Pacific County, an affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, has expanded with the help of multiple friends and partners. Current team members include the WellSpring Community Network, the Youth Empowerment Squad [Y.E.S.] at Ilwaco Middle/High School, and board and staff of Willapa Behavioral Health.

    The 2012 T-shirts, with the words “Friends Family Community” at the center, are a product of the team’s design and were screen printed by the high school’s Ilwaco Industries. Reasonably priced and available in many sizes and in both navy blue and white, the T-shirts can be purchased this week at Willapa Behavioral Health or on Saturday at the walk.  

    Community efforts supported by Saturday’s walk focus on mental health education, outreach, and reducing stigma about mental health issues. Current initiatives, all free of charge, are the Family to Family course, a weekly adult support group, monthly education program and newsletter, mental health first-aid workshops, and a new NAMI Pacific County Facebook page. Ten percent of the proceeds from this Saturday’s walk will go to peer support projects being developed by Peninsula youth, with the remainder used to continue and expand mental health efforts in and around Long Beach Peninsula.

    For anyone planning to walk Saturday morning, the walk will start at the white tent near the beach on the Bolstad approach in Long Beach. Walkers will head north on the Discovery Trail for approximately two miles round trip. Anyone who cannot do the walk but wants to contribute to these local efforts can contact one of the team members from an organization listed above, or send a check made out to NAMI Pacific County, P.O. Box 1, Nahcotta, WA 98637.

    This year for the first time the walk includes several raffle prizes donated by local businesses and arranged for by Willapa Behavioral Health staff members. Also new this year are information signs along the walk route. Two examples are “Mental health conditions affect more people than heart disease, cancer, or diabetes” and “We can all make a difference in our families, our neighborhoods, and our communities.”

    For T-shirt information, contact Erin Moore at Willapa Behavioral Health, 642-3787. For donation information, contact Carole Wiegardt, 665-3712.

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