Local college students advocate for mental health awareness

Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 5:44 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - Students in the Human Services program at Blue Ridge Community College hosted an event to raise awareness for mental health resources in the Valley.

The Mental Health Fair at BRCC was Thursday, Nov. 4 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., allowing people to meet with organizations that provide a variety of resources.

Event planners say one crucial step in getting help is knowing what resources are available, which is why they chose to host the event. They hope to encourage people to get the help they need.

“Especially in mental health, it’s difficult to navigate that system and who provides what and what insurances are provided. Now is an opportunity to come out and talk with them face to face about that,” said Mental Health America of Augusta Executive Director Bruce Blair.

Blair says during the pandemic, more people have needed help, and many of them don’t know where to go.

“The first step and the prevention in that is getting the knowledge and understanding what resources are available to you,” Blair said.

Blair says the masterminds behind Thursday’s event were students at BRCC like Cassady Bush and Eric Calvert. The event was a class project, and Bush and Calvert were in charge of advertising.

“I feel like I learned so many more organizations that are in our area that I didn’t know about previously. I knew about some, but we definitely are understanding of how many are in the area,” said Bush.

They say the class has been planning the fair since August.

“There was a lot of services I hadn’t heard of in the area that I was both surprised and excited about because I thought ‘there needs to be opportunities’ and knowing there is those opportunities out there, especially locally, that’s really cool,” said Calvert.

To make the event accessible to all, organizers invited five language interpreters.

“I think the main thing for me is anyone can come to this. It doesn’t matter if you’re suffering or if you just want to learn. It’s a good opportunity for both,” said Calvert.

Blair says anyone who needs help should visit Mental Health America of Augusta’s website to connect with local resources.

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