May is just around the corner and we are joining with other community organizations to recognize May as National Mental Health Awareness Month. A series of articles will run in the Cortland Standard throughout May, intended to inform and educate the community about mental health. The Cortland County Mental Health Association (MHA) will hold the annual May is Mental Health Dinner on May 2.
On May 20, the Cortland MHA is teaming up with Pet Assisted Wellness Services of CNY, or PAWS, focusing on veterans’ mental wellness. PAWS employs therapy dogs to help veterans better cope with civilian life. This free event will be at Beaudry Park in Cortland from 2pm to 4pm and is open to the public. For more information on the great work that PAWS does, check out pawsofcny.org.
The month will be capped off on May 24 with the “May is Mental Health Month Walk,” starting at United Presbyterian Church at 25 Church Street in Cortland. Doors will open at 11:30am with a resource fair of local mental health organizations, including Family Counseling Services. The walk starts at noon and includes a stop at the Cortland Free Library to hear information on how the library supports people facing mental health challenges, then on to Main Street, ending back at the church for a light lunch.
Last year more than 150 people participated in the walk, which is free and open to the public. For more information or to register for a free event T-shirt, go to Seven Valleys Health Coalition – T-Shirt and Walk Registration before May 1.
By starting conversations in our homes, schools, work places and elsewhere, we can help to build a stronger community.
Mental illnesses are common and many people recover and lead fulfilling lives. If you need help, ask. If you see someone who needs help, ask if you can help them. Help is always only one question away.
Alexandra Huntington-Ofner, a staff member of the Cortland County Mental Health Department, contributed to this article.