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The Center prepares for upcoming Mental Health Awareness Day
Connie Holliday, senior team leader/targeted case manager, serves hot dogs on behalf of The Center for Counseling & Consultation at last year’s Mental Health Awareness Day event. This year’s gathering is set for May 24.

The staff at The Center for Counseling & Consultation is busily planning its popular annual event for anyone who wants to learn about local mental-health resources – and have a little fun too, said Julie Kramp, executive director.

Mental Health Awareness Day events are set for 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 24 at downtown’s Jack Kilby Square.

“This is a great event for coming together as a community to discover the many resources available right here at home,” Kramp said. “When we make these connections, it leads to better mental health.

“For example, you can learn coping mechanisms and come to realize we have this network of people and agencies that want to help. We want to share with the whole community, not just the small population that chooses to come in our front door at The Center.”

One of The Center’s booths will focus on #Zero Reasons Why, the local teen-led suicide prevention program. Therapists will be available at a neighboring booth to share information and answer questions.

“And, of course, many of our community partners will have fun events and educational opportunities for all ages at their booths,” Kramp noted. “Some will serve food and others will showcase a variety of displays and handouts.

“Some will offer arts and crafts and some will have kids’ games. This truly is an opportunity to engage with our neighbors at all levels.”

There is no charge for entities that want to set up a booth.

Last year was the first time the event was held downtown; for six years, it was in The Center’s parking lot.

“We outgrew that limited space,” Kramp said. “Last year we had about 400 visitors and are hoping for even more this time around. In many cases, people were just driving by and their interest was piqued.

“The great thing is these visitors quickly became engaged in all the activities and stayed to learn more.”

The Center’s staff deserves all the credit for organizing and participating in the special event, Kramp said.

“It takes our entire organization to plan and host Mental Health Day, which has grown in popularity every year,” she explained. “Everyone here pitches in because they know how important mental-health information is to our whole community. I truly appreciate their commitment.”

The Center for Counseling & Consultation is a Community Mental Health Center serving Barton, Pawnee, Rice and Stafford counties. Professionally trained personnel offer: individual and group therapy; marriage and family counseling; community-support services; community-based services; psychosocial rehabilitation; peer support; and medication management. The confidential 24/7 crisis hotline number is 800-875-2544.