LANSING — Mental health resources and more will be available Thursday late afternoon at the Alfreda Schmidt Community Center, as part of a free event tailored toward Black, Indigenous and other communities of color in Ingham County.
The Mental Health Awareness & Resource Fair will be held from 4-7 p.m. at the southside community center on 5825 Wise Road. According to a press release, it will “showcase community organizations, healthcare professionals, clinicians and service providers” from across Greater Lansing.
The whole community is invited, but the event will focus on the needs of residents who are Black, Indigenous and people of color due to the unique stressors facing those communities in Ingham County, said Yanice Jackson, an account clerk for the Ingham County Treasurer’s Office who organized the event.
Racism is a public health crisis in Ingham County, according to a resolution passed unanimously by the Board of Commissioners last year.
“We talk about racism, we talk about mental illness and mental wellness, and now we’re actually putting things in motion to help people,” Jackson said.
More:Racism is a public health emergency, just as much as COVID-19
Jackson said the event is a “showcase,” aimed to engage attendees not only with mental health resources but also with ideas that promote mental wellness.
Yolanda Pope and Tareva Watts from The Dignified Aging Project, an organization that aims to minimize systemic health care disparities by providing care for underserved seniors, will guide an interactive discussion on the importance of destigmatizing mental health in BIPOC communities.
In addition, visual artist Mila Lynn, who’s from Lansing, will do a live painting. Dance troupes from Pure Performance Arts and Happendance will also perform, and attendees will get self-care kits with resource guides, water bottles and more.
Jackson said some vendors in attendance will also promote healthy activities that can benefit one’s mental health, such as camping, baking and music. The holistic approach helps make mental health seem more approachable and realistic, she said.
“Just thinking of my own experience, if I’m caught in a space and maybe not so sure how to get out and feeling in a bad way, sometimes I can listen to some music or do a dance and I feel so much better,” Jackson said. “These are the types of things we want people to know will contribute to positive mental health.”
The event is an introduction point into mental health awareness, Jackson said. She’s planning a follow-up event for next year.
“It’s somewhere people can come out. It’s not just to find counselors and clinicians, but there will be different things available that’ll keep people in a state of optimal mental health,” she said. “Not just waiting until somebody gets down in the dumps, but what should we do to keep us balanced?”
Culturally competent health care within BIPOC communities is crucial to survival and success, Jackson said in an email. She said it’s also important to practice “basic principles to help achieve and maintain mental stability in uncertain times.”
“To get us to a good place where we can function for the day-to-day, especially with all of the things that are going on that are not so positive,” she said. “So, we want to have an emphasis on that and showcase the beauty within the community.”
No registration is needed to attend.
Contact reporter Jared Weber at 517-582-3937 or [email protected]
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