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Partners gather at Kilby Square to offer mental health starting point
Mental Health day 2024
The Center for Counseling & Consultation's booth for Tuesday's observance of Mental Health Day in Great Bend was centered among a ring of about two others offering mental health and well-being services in the county.

In today’s fast-changing world, meeting challenges can be overwhelming. As our society becomes more comfortable discussing mental health issues, it still may be difficult to know exactly “Where to Start” when it comes to looking after one’s personal well-being.

That’s the message Great Bend’s Center for Consultation & Counseling wanted to bring to the community Tuesday afternoon, with assistance from nearly two dozen service partners gathered at Jack Kilby Square for its 11th annual Mental Health Day.

May has been known as Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States since 1949. The observance was started by Mental Health America, now known as the nation’s leading national non-profit dedicated to the promotion of mental health, well-being and illness prevention. This year’s theme is “Where to Start: Mental Health in a Changing World.”

On Tuesday, ringed by about 20 booths ranging from the Kansas Department for Children and Families, the Barton County Health Department, Salvation Army and the Family Crisis Center to the Kansas Children’s Service League, Heart of Kansas Family Health Care, Youth Crew and Sunflower Diversified Services, The Center’s booth was there in the center of it all at Kilby on Tuesday.

Each booth had its own message to add to the combination of mental health awareness and education about services available, noted Holly Bowyer, one of the event’s organizers.

“The theme ‘Where to Start’ is because a lot of people may know about available resources, but they don’t know how the process works to access those resources,” Bowyer said. “That’s the theme we encouraged our community partners also to have, so that people could see the resources they had to offer, so they could answer the question ‘How do people start with your agency?’”

The event was well-attended, evidenced by the amount of hot dogs and popcorn served. “We had a great crowd,” she said. “We went through all the hot dogs and chips we had and talked to a lot of individuals.”

The next step

 Bowyer noted that after learning about resource availability, the next step in the process is up to people themselves.

At the Center, the process starts with intake, Bowyer noted. “They can go online or we have open access, where people can walk in Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and be seen right away that day.”

Assisting The Center as event sponsors were Sunflower Health Plan, Aetna Better Health of Kansas and Abbey Carpet & Floor in Great Bend.