A mental health forum with a panel of eighteen speakers from various community sectors and mental health organizations drew about 70 people to Mountain Lake Park last Thursday. The event, “Foundations for Healing,” was the first segment of We the People Warwick’s “You Are Not Alone” mental health series. Presenters represented clinical social workers, veterans, high school students, Orange County Department of Mental Health, Warwick Valley Prevention Coalition, Orange County Youth Bureau, and the Mid-Hudson Prevention Resource Center, among others.
Speakers provided statistics and perspectives on the current state of mental health in Orange County and the country at large. Others shared the services and resources available through their organizations and their personnel or individual initiatives.
According to the We the People Warwick(WTPW) Mental Health Resilience Team, who organized the event, one of the primary objectives of Part 1 of this series was to begin to break down common misperceptions and stigmas associated with mental illness so that in Part II community members can work together to identify and develop solutions for identified mental health needs in the community.
Attendee reaction was overwhelmingly positive. Comments offered via an event survey completed that evening included: “What an inclusive, informative, and thoughtful event. So good to see how many community members care about mental health.” “I was very impressed with the scope and diversity of the speakers and the way that each agency is doing so much despite the shortage of staff and funding.” “I was afraid to come to show my face, but now I will come to all such forums. The speakers shared from their hearts as well as their experiences. Extremely beneficial, resourceful with so many informational shares. Please have more!”
Attendees were also asked about their interest in taking part in the community conversations contemplated for part two. WTPW founder Beverly Braxton and her colleague organizers said the group is encouraged by the responses and believe they will be able to realize their vision of “forming a cross-sector coalition to identify the components of and pathways forward for building Warwick as a resilient, supportive, and inclusive community, utilizing the existing programs, human resources and volunteers in the community.”
WTPW asks interested community members to stay tuned for more information about Part 2, visit WTPW’s website at wethepeoplewarwick.org to view the video of part 1’s discussion or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions.
WTPW also expressed their gratitude to Emmerich’s Greenhouses, Ochs Orchard, ShopRite, Price Chopper, and Pennings Market for their contributions to the evening.
Organizers said the group is encouraged by the responses and believe they will be able to realize their vision of “forming a cross-sector coalition to identify the components of and pathways forward for building Warwick as a resilient, supportive, and inclusive community, utilizing the existing programs, human resources and volunteers in the community.