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Mental Health Month celebration set for May 30 in Chinook


May 23, 2018

A celebration of Mental Health Month is set for the afternoon and evening of Wednesday, May 30. Organizers say the event will be staged “much like a health fair with information tables available all in one location. The fair will be followed by a movie and then a barbeque dinner.” Jana McPherson-Hauer, Blaine County Public Health Nurse, said, “We often hear about how ‘resource poor’ our area is for mental health services. Part of the purpose of this celebration is to emphasize and showcase what we’re doing well for mental health awareness and support.” Activities will be held in the meeting room of the Blaine County Library.

Mental Health Month has been celebrated in the U.S. since 1949

For nearly 70 years various mental health national committees have promoted May as a time to emphasize awareness about the importance of mental health. McPherson-Hauer said in Blaine County through the years there have been a number of local committees and organizations that did programs during May to promote awareness about mental health.

The national theme for Mental Health Month 2018 is “Fitness#4Mind4Body.” The national theme focuses on “what we as individuals can do to be fit for our futures—no matter where we happen to be on our own personal journeys to health and wellness.” The emphasis is “small changes make a big difference.” Readers can enter Fitness#4Mind4Body on their smart phones of computers for daily suggestions of small but important changes for improved physical and mental wellness.

The theme for the local celebration centers around the idea of working to achieve both mental health and physical wellness in a combined approach—the idea of ‘holistic wellness.’ The upcoming celebration is sponsored by the Local Advisory Council for Mental Health in Blaine County (LAC), Sweet Medical Center and the Blaine County Health Department.

The Mental Health Fair will run

3:00 - 5:00 p.m.

There will be activities for kids as well as representatives and information on mental health from various wellness groups. Youth Dynamics will have a representative at the fair. Through its Mental Health Care for Montana Kids & Families, Youth Dynamics provides mental health services to children and families including foster care, parenting classes and mental health services.

Sweet Medical Center will also have representatives explaining a new grant-supported program the clinic will be initiating. McPherson-Hauer said, “The new grant will focus on the idea of ‘integrated care,’ a health approach that combines services for both mental and physical health at the same location.” She explained that the separation of locations where mental health and primary care is provided in the county has been a problem for access. McPherson-Hauer added, “It’s part of Sweet Medical’s goal to treat the whole person for physical and emotional/mental issues. This is a recognition of SMC’s continued approach as a ‘patient centered medical facility.’”

Consultants with mental health specialties will also be available at the fair. MSU-Northern has been working with Sweet Medical Center to initiate the new “holistic” grant described above. The consultants will conduct a group discussion after the movie that follows the Mental Health Fair. Some student members of Meadowlark Elementary Kids’ Leadership team will also be sharing about their in- school program that promotes various activities for elementary students to achieve good mental health.

Dinner and a Movie

Organizers hope one draw for people to visit the informational tables at the Mental Health Fair is that attendees receive a ticket for “Dinner and a Movie.” The movie will be shown from 5-6:30pm immediately after the fair concludes and burgers and dogs will be served at the conclusion of the movie.

McPherson-Hauer said the independently produced movie, titled “Resilience,” is a film “based on what we know about childhood mental trauma and related health risks. The movie looks at Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and chronicles a movement using cutting-edge science and field-tested therapies to protect children.” “In short,” she added, “it’s about how victims that have bad things happen to them at a young age can still make healthy choices as adults.”

Professor Curtis Smeby from MSU-Northern will lead the discussion following the movie. Smeby has conducted numerous workshops and presentations about the connection between adverse childhood experiences and adult mental health.

A cookout will follow the discussion on topics from the movie.


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