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Mental Heath Awareness Day teaches no stigma
Children and adults could ride trikes through an course marked by orange cones, Friday during Mental Health Awareness Day at The Center for Counseling and Consultation in Great Bend. Adults had the added challenge of negotiating the course while wearing glasses that simulated the effects of drunk driving. - photo by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

Experts hope mental health kiosks can save lives

A bounce house and a beanbag toss, face painting and free popcorn were all part of the carnival atmosphere Friday in the parking lot at The Center for Counseling and Consultation in Great Bend. The event was Mental Health Awareness Day.
Kids and adults could enjoy the games with little thought, but a subtle lesson was at the heart of this event: Stamp Out Stigma. Mental illness, like physical illness, needs to be recognized and treated.
The Centers for Disease Control recognize mental illness as a significant public health problem, said Robin Rziha, director of the Pawnee County Health Department. Fifty percent of all adults in the United States will develop at least one mental illness in their lifetime.

The public awareness campaign Stamp Out Stigma adds:
One in four adults will face a mental illness in a given year. More than 22 million people have a substance use disorder. Even if you are not living with a mental illness or substance use disorder, you can make a lasting impact by speaking up for those who do. Take the pledge and vow to Stamp Out Stigma surrounding mental illness and addiction.

“Community engagement can be a foundation for success,” Rziha said. It lets people know where they can gain awareness, services, knowledge, and love and compassion.
The mental health fair also allowed several other services to set up booths. Those who attended could learn about NAMI — the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a free support group for individuals living with mental illness and their family members. (Contact the group with an email to or call 785-342-3975.) Or they could learn about early childhood education or the Drum Circles led by John Makings.
“We take for granted that people know the services are available,” said Douglas McNett, executive director of The Center. However, there are many resources available in communities and people don’t always know about them.

Learn more online at
The Center for Counseling and Consultation is located at 5815 Broadway Ave., Great Bend. Call 620-792-2544 or 800-875-2544.