5K Walks in launch mental health awareness
By Kaye Hult
The Mental Health 5K Walk, "Open Heart, Mind and Sole," from 9:30 a.m. to noon, Saturday, April 9, at the PCEI Pavilion in Moscow, kicks off events through May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month.
"Mental illness is a disease, not a decision. We hope to end the stigma," said Sharlisa Davis, a facilitator of the Latah Alliance on Mental Illness (LAMI) in Moscow, one of the walk sponsors.
"Mental illness affects 16 million adults in the U.S. Many fear seeking services because of the stigma attached to it," she said.
The in-person event includes presentations, resources, speakers, water and snacks, but participants can help stamp out the stigma of mental illness virtually by completing 5K any time between April 9 and May 31.
The planning group is creating a montage of videos participants send to instagram.com/lamipalouse to share their passion for community inclusion, mental health awareness and de-stigmatization of mental illness.
Other sponsors are Latah Recovery Center (LAMI), Disability Action Center NW (DAC) and 3Forks Bike Shop.
LAMI works to destigmatize mental illness and promote equitable communities by providing inclusive, nurturing living and learning environments based on respect, trust and compassion.
The center's certified recovery coaches, peer support specialists and recovery peer volunteers provide life skills coaching and support services for people dealing with addictions and mental health issues.
DAC uses the collective power of participants to provide independent living services while fostering attitudes, policies and environments of equality and freedom.
As a compassionate, accessible place for people with disabilities, DAC encourages people with disabilities to take control of their lives and to live life to the fullest.
3Forks Bike Shop spreads the love of biking with education classes, bike repairs and bike storage. They believe in the power of DIY.
For the first time, DAC in Post Falls will join the event, said Vicki Leeper, outreach coordinator.
The Post Falls contingent will meet at 9:30 a.m. at Falls Park and walk to the Post Falls Chamber of Commerce, where they will see the Moscow activities live streamed, said Sherri Boelter, independent living advocate in the Post Falls DAC office. They will use the same registration link.