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Birmingham to host Mental Health Awareness Day on May 17

The City of Birmingham will join community partners to present Mental Health Awareness Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 17 at Linn Park. Attendees will be able to engage with experts and discuss mental health. (Adobe Stock)

By Chanda Temple | For The Birmingham Times

On Friday, May 17, the City of Birmingham and community partners will be in Linn Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to offer free resources and have conversations on mental health, which is a topic many people are often reluctant to address.

Crystal Mullen-Johnson

Crystal Mullen-Johnson, a licensed clinical social worker/founder of Strive Counseling Services and founder of Nurture Alabama, wants to dismantle the stigma around mental health, which is why she is partnering with the City of Birmingham and Birmingham Park and Recreation to help present the Third Annual Mental Health Awareness Day.

“Mental Health Awareness Month is recognized nationally in May, which is a valuable opportunity to unite with others who share a common goal: to engage in open discussions about mental health and to provide support to those in need,’’ Mullen-Johnson said.

Said Mayor Randall L. Woodfin: “Mental health and wellness are too often ignored in our community. Mental Health Awareness Day is our chance to change that; it’s our opportunity to emphasize the importance of mental health.’’

Not only will attendees be able to connect with mental health experts on a variety of topics, visit food trucks, take part in depression screenings, participate in yoga and exercise sessions, register for giveaways and hear from speakers, but they will also learn more about combating domestic violence.

One in three women and one in four men have reported having experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And due to the recent number of area homicides involving domestic violence, Mullen-Johnson wanted to highlight that recognizing early signs of domestic violence is crucial to ending the cycle.

Birmingham businesswoman Selena Rodgers Dickerson, who has been selected as a Domestic Violence Survivor Ambassador for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Day, will be in the park to lend a listening ear to attendees and encourage them to check out resources. Hearing how several women have died recently at the hands of their abusers, left her wanting to encourage women to seek help if they are hurting, Dickerson said.

She and Mullen-Johnson hope the event in Linn Park will empower people to break free of their fear and look for and use available resources that can help them. The YWCA Central Alabama Domestic Violence Services will have a table at the event.

Mullen-Johnson added that through this free event, Nurture of Alabama’s mission is to expand access and shift the conversation about mental health so that all Alabamians, especially those from historically marginalized communities, can thrive.

Speakers on the stage will include:

  • Alexandria Means, a domestic violence expert, 10:10 a.m.
  • Beverly Johnson from the Alabama Department of Mental Health, 10:25 a.m.
  • Hernando Carter, a general practitioner, 12 p.m.

Some of the interactive sessions will include:

  • Activities for adults from the City’s Park and Recreation Department, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Depression screenings with Cherie May Edwards, a licensed professional counselor,  10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Mental health consultations with Lauren Packer, an associate licensed counselor, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Chair massages from Adrian Ward, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Line dancing with fitness instructor Tracy Williams, 11 a.m.
  • Yoga therapist Jamella Strode leads session on how breathing techniques can help improve responses to trauma triggers, 12:30 p.m.
  • A low impact sculpt class with fitness instructor April Mack, 1 p.m.

For more information, visit www.nurturebham.com.  To contact Crystal Mullen-Johnson send emails to cmullen@nurturebham.com.