Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Health Fair Tuesday and Wednesday

CMHA was invited back to have a booth again this year at a local business here in town where they bring in community resources for their employees to see what services are available. Last year we were invited to attend and it just so happens that it was during Mental Illness Awareness Week. I was there last year to help CMHA and promoted MIAW by letting people know. Not only was it MIAW again, but there was excellent materials to use to promote it.

I made sure to catch as many people as I could that went by the booth as possible. I would stand there with my basket to the side and ask people if they wanted some materials to promote MIAW. Most times before they could respond, I would already be handing them a booklet and bracelet. I knew this would be a great place to promote MIAW and to help reduce stigma in the community. I also let people know that with wearing the bracelet it would start up a discussion about mental illness and perhaps normalize the illness. It was nice to see a lot of the people wear their bracelets when they received them instead of putting them in their bags.

There were some people who of course made jokes pertaining to mental illness and that the information was too late for that. I find that a lot of people joked within a group of friends however if a person was caught alone then it was a lot easier to talk to them. It all boils down to stigma in the workplace- that people need to act "fine" and have it "all together" around their buddies. There is so much pressure to fit in and to be accepted that often people will deny how they feel so that others do not find out that they are struggling. Its human to want to fit in.

Between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday afternoon at the health fair, I gave away 120 bracelets. 100 of the bracelets were ones that CMHA ordered. We had run out so I dipped into my stash that I had on hand. By Wednesday evening the count from my stash I had given away to the community totaled around 200.  Three more days left of MIAW- I think that I can find homes for the rest of my 50 bracelets!

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