North Country Community Mental Health is promoting Mental Health Awareness Month with activities each week in May. “Look Around, Look Within” is this year’s theme for North Country’s Mental Health Awareness Month activities to recognize the effects of our natural and built-in environment on our mental health and to learn ways to protect and strengthen our well-being.
“From your neighbourhood to your genetics, many factors come into play when it comes to your mental health. We encourage everyone to consider how the world around you affects your mental health,” said Amy Christie, Chief Clinical Officer at North Country Community Mental Health. “Your surroundings can impact if, how, and when your needs are met, which in turn affects your mental health.”
“This Mental Health Month, we are offering an array of activities with the aim to increase the community conversation about the connections between our physical and mental health and environment, how to build our resilience, and how to access help when needed,” Christie said. “You can take steps to change your space and protect your mental health.”
North Country CMH has planned the following activities during the month of May:
23rd Annual Splash of Color Fun Run & Walk for Mental Health Awareness
Saturday, May 20, 10:00 a.m. at the Festival Pavilion behind the Fire Station in downtown Petoskey. This fun event celebrates mental health and increases awareness of mental health issues during Mental Health Awareness Month. Participants may pre-register at www.eventbrite.com. The cost is $25 per person which includes the Run/Walk, T-shirt, swag bag, paint packet, and a chance to win door prizes. People may participate for free if they do not want a T-shirt and may receive a swag bag, with advance registration. Group rates are available for groups of 5 or more. Race day registration and packet pick up will be available at Festival Park (Behind City Hall), in Petoskey, beginning at 9:00 a.m. the day of the event. The COLOR RUN begins at 10:00 a.m. The colourful 5K course starts at Festival Pavilion behind the Fire Station and goes through the Bear River Recreation Area. This is a fun run, where you will experience colour splatter stations along the route to get your colour on. The WALK begins with a big splash of colour at 10:30 a.m. The course will begin at the Festival Pavilion Shelter, cross the Bear River at the Bayfront, follow Lake Street to M-31, and through Memorial Park towards Wachtel Avenue, returning to Festival Pavilion Shelter. Proceeds benefit the NCCMH Client Special Needs Fund. Questions? Call Nancy at 231-429-1228. This is a spectacular event!
Register at tinyurl.com/298b5d2p.
RSVP on Facebook at fb.me/e/27sisNAY3
Donate directly to the Client Special Needs Fund at tinyurl.com/yy4rnzsn
PhotoVoice Inclusion and Statewide Traveling Art Show
May 1-31 – Charlevoix Public Library, 220 W Clinton
May 1-8 – Antrim County Building, 203 E Cayuga St
May 9-14 – Petoskey District Library, 500 E Mitchell St
May 15-21 – Cheboygan Area Public Library, 100 S Bailey St
May 22-31 – Otsego County Library, 700 S Otsego Ave, Gaylord
Libraries and public offices are partnering with North Country CMH to present the Community Mental Health Association of Michigan’s “Creative Minds Changing Minds” exhibit featuring 15 winning pieces selected from consumer art contests across Michigan and feature a painting from Petoskey resident Will Sanderson and East Jordan resident Tamara Wilson. Additionally, the exhibit will include images created by NCCMH clients who attended a PhotoVoice class at New Horizons Clubhouse in Rapid City and Petoskey Club in Petoskey. PhotoVoice is a process used to highlight people whose voices and perspectives may often go unheard and overlooked and is comprised of photos and words used to highlight the experience of the person with mental illness. Their exhibit is entitled, “I Am Right Here: See Me for Who I Am, Not What I Have.” A Youth PhotoVoice exhibit, “Through Our Eyes,” created by students across the region through the Northwest Community Health Innovation Region, is also included in some of the displays.
According to Deb Freed, NCCMH event organizer and PhotoVoice instructor, the exhibit has two goals. One is to help de-stigmatize mental illness, intellectual/developmental disabilities, and substance use disorders by showcasing the talents of people who use community mental health services. Secondly, the exhibit aims to highlight the recovery potential of the arts. “Art helps change attitudes while enriching people’s lives. For hundreds of years, great artists, musicians, and writers with mental health issues have created beautiful masterpieces to share with the world. We are pleased to present this show of Michigan and local artists who have used art to further their recovery and build life skills. The local PhotoVoice artists aim to give hope to those whose recovery journeys will come after theirs and encourage people struggling with their mental health to reach out for help.” They selected ‘I Am Right Here’ as the theme of the show and want people to know that they are much more than their diagnosis.”
Free Virtual Mental Health First Aid Training for the Community
During May, the Youth Mental Health First Aid class is May 4 and 5, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The adult class is on May 11 and 12 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The public is invited to register using the links below. The courses are split into two half days and offered virtually to increase the number of people who may be able to receive this training and increase the capacity of our community to respond appropriately to people we know who may be experiencing a mental health issue.
Adult MHFA – tinyurl.com/yf8sjk3s
Youth MHFA – tinyurl.com/2p8thff4
Mental Health First Aid is a ground-breaking, evidence-based training program for community members interested in learning to recognize and diffuse mental health crises. Participants learn how to help an individual until professional treatment is obtained or the crisis resolves. The youth-specific Mental Health First Aid class is especially valuable for educators, school administrators, school counsellors, members of faith communities, homeless shelter staff and volunteers, health care workers, police and other first responders, social workers, policymakers and family members of people with mental health challenges. NCCMH will offer Mental Health First Aid training quarterly. If you work at an organization in NCCMH’s six counties and are interested in organizing a special Mental Health First Aid Training for your staff, please inquire by emailing us at NCCMHTraining@norcocmh.org.
Tools4Resilience Virtual Education Series
Leading mental health agencies Northern Lakes Community Mental Health and North Country Community Mental Health are collaborating to offer a free virtual education series in May focused on the theme #Tools4Resilience.
The series provides valuable insights and practical strategies for promoting mental health and self-care and is open to anyone interested in learning more about mental health issues and techniques for building resilience.
The series features webinars every Thursday and most Tuesdays throughout May from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
Mental health professionals from both organizations, as well as the Northern Michigan Regional Entity (NMRE), will share practical tips and techniques, insights into specific mental health issues, and strategies for promoting self-care. After each presentation, attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in discussions with the speakers and will receive access to myStrength, a free self-help health and wellness app.
The #Tools4Resilience offerings include:
May 4: Letting go of the heavy backpack: working through difficult situations. Learn how to communicate in a positive way to help others. Learn techniques on how to handle situations where people might become angry, or behaviours escalate.
May 9: Navigating conflict resolution. Skills and tips to practice to positively and constructively communicate with people in your work or personal life.
May 11: A DOSE of life. Increase and balance your happy hormones to become more resilient by taking control and living your life!
May 16: Developing cultural intelligence. Gain an inside view of individual bias to increase understanding and for personal development.
May 18: Strong foundation, bright futures: building a healthy tomorrow. An overview of the parent-infant relationship and its impact on mental health, well-being, and resiliency.
May 23: Trying to keep yourself safe online. A roundtable discussion on ways to thwart common techniques scammers uses to steal our financial and personal data.
May 25: Health is our wealth. Choices to holistically integrate your physical and mental health in order to achieve optimal health. Techniques to advocate for yourself with a primary care provider, food as medicine, and more!
Register and receive links for the #Tools4Resilience virtual education series at Event Brite at https://bit.ly/3zCwTKA.
Free showing of the movie Driving Miss Daisy at the Petoskey Friendship Center and presentation on mental health and aging
Friday, May 19, 2023, at 1:00 p.m. at the Petoskey Friendship Center Library (1322 Anderson Rd, Petoskey). This 1989 story starring Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy depicts Daisy, a 72-year-old retired schoolteacher who is determined to maintain her independence. When she is unable to drive her car following an accident, her son Boolie arranges for her to have a chauffeur named Hoke Colburn. Despite a rocky start, Daisy and Hoke’s relationship builds into a close friendship over the years. This film was a commercial success, receiving four awards at the 62nd Academy Awards.
In addition, staff from each NCCMH office are planning special community-based events:
- Bellaire – Bridge Walk to Wellness – Begins at the trailhead by the Health Department and ends by the Village Police Department. – Join us in a walk of the bridges in Bellaire and receive a gift. Call 231-533-8619 with questions. Wednesday, May 17, 1:00 p.m.
- Charlevoix – Mental Health Rocks! – NCCMH Charlevoix Office at 6250 M-66N – This is a day of fun family-friendly activities around the theme of our physical surroundings. We will plant community veggies and sensory gardens, paint the Mental Health Community Boulder, experience a mindfulness nature walk, put together sensory boxes, paint rocks with positive messages, and enjoy snacks. Call 231-547-5885 with questions. Thursday, May 18, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
- Gaylord – Otsego County Community Garden – Participants are invited to help clean and beautify our outdoor surroundings including helping the conservation office to clean up the pathways. There will be a station for kids to decorate pots and plant seedlings. At 4:00 p.m., Mr. Jack Chambers will give a presentation on the Four Sacred Medicines (plants) in the garden’s amphitheatre. Mr. Chambers is a Tribal Elder, combat Marine Veteran, and Traditional Healer from the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. Thursday, May 18 – 3:00-6:00 p.m.
- Kalkaska – Sensory Stroll – Along the Stroll participants will learn how using our senses in our environment can help to calm our mind and body. Information will be provided on coping/calming skills along with an activity to create your own tool kit. This will be a walk around the fairgrounds path, near the Kaliseum, in Kalkaska. Participants will be able to create a sensory tool kit on their walk by stopping at each check station to learn about coping and calming skills related to their senses. Stations will include an activity station for the following: Sight: having various photos/postcards of places and things such as nature, animals, etc. and information on playing games like Eye Spy and how what we see in our environment can help us calm; Sound: Music/sound station where they can create a rain stick and listen to live music performed by Darrell Boger; Touch: where they can explore other tactile textures and play in the dirt and plant a small plant; Smell: where they can create an essential oils roller or scented slime and learn about calming scents; Taste: where refreshments will be available – Sunday, May 21 – 1:00-4:00 p.m.
- Cheboygan – May Day Mindfulness – at North Central State Trailhead on South Western Ave, across from Faith Baptist Church – with family-friendly activities, including a mindfulness scavenger hunt, writing inspiration letters to yourself, mental health education, and a gardening kit giveaway. There will be fun door prizes, and snacks and drinks available. Come join us and learn how to avoid a May Day Crisis of your own. Saturday, May 27, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
- Petoskey – Rock Your Mental Health – at Festival Square, 200 Watchel St., Petoskey – Join us for a rock painting event to promote a positive mental health environment. “Pick it, Paint it, Place it (or take it home). Rocks and all painting supplies and snacks will be provided. Wear your painting clothes. – Tuesday, May 30 – 1:00-4:00 p.m.
North Country Community Mental Health provides services to residents of Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet, Kalkaska and Otsego Counties experiencing a serious mental illness, severe emotional problem, or intellectual/developmental disability, including individuals with co-occurring substance use disorder. With a team of highly trained professionals, NCCMH offers a range of crisis intervention, outpatient, and home- and community-based services and supports.
Persons wishing to know more about North Country Community Mental Health are encouraged to visit www.norcocmh.org or to access services call 877-470-7130. For 24/7 crisis intervention call 877-470-4668.