A coalition dedicated to educating the public about mental wellness and available resources will be releasing a variety of online content throughout the month of September as part of the Healthy Minds Festival virtual event.
Local residents can follow along by visiting the Healthy Minds Strong Communities Facebook page. Content such as infographics, empowerment videos, hands-on activities for teens, guest speakers and links to local resources will be published each day.
The content will align with a different theme for each of September’s five weeks. The themes are: stress and anxiety, improving family relationships, dangers of social media, healthy relationships for teens, and depression and suicide.
Kathy Goul, family and consumer science agent for K-state Research & Extension Marais des Cygnes District, said the Healthy Minds Strong Communities coalition was formed thanks to a $10,000 grant the Extension District received last year to address mental health in Miami and Linn counties.
Goul said the Healthy Minds Festival was originally planned to be an in-person event at one of Paola’s schools, but it was turned into a virtual event due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The change, in Goul’s opinion, is actually for the better because it will broaden the reach of the important information and resources.
“We are going to reach so many more people,” she said.
Several organizations are collaborating to provide the Healthy Minds Festival, including K-State Research & Extension, Elizabeth Layton Center, Shifting Gears for Regan, Southeast Kansas Mental Health, Paola Police Department, USD 368, Miami County Medical Center, Miami County Health Department and Linn County Health Department.