By: Richard L. Smith
United Community Corporation (UCC) officials said they are pushing back against mental illness's stigma by offering Greater Newark residents various outreach resources at its “Mental Matters: Mental Health Fair” this month, letting individuals know they’re not alone in the fight.
The Mental Matters fair will be held Friday, May 19, at Ivy Hill Park, located in Newark’s West Ward on Mt. Vernon Place.
UCC officials said the program, which begins at 11 a.m., will provide resources, music, poetry and activities to the community focused on advocating the importance of mental health.
Free COVID-19 vaccines will also be available to attendees, which Saint James Health officials will administer.
Additionally, the Newark Department of Health and Community Wellness will have a medical van on-site.
“Everyone has their own struggle, so let us break the stigma of not reaching out for help and labeling those who do,” said UCC Outreach Team Member Amalia Ruiz.
“We need self-care and an enjoyable solution to deal with our daily stresses. Let us be a path in your journey of hope.”
According to UCC officials, the event comes to Greater Newark residents at a time when millions of people in the United States are impacted by mental illness.
In fact, mental illness is among the most common health conditions in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“More than 50% of U.S. adults will need mental health treatment at some point during their lifetime,” according to the CDC.
“In addition, 1 in 25 [people] are currently living with a serious mental illness, such as an eating disorder, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or major depression.”
Officials say by hosting an event that brings various community partners together to let individuals know what mental health resources are available to them, UCC hopes to take a step in the more significant battle of mitigating these numbers.
“Together, we can combat this illness because we do not have to fight it alone,” said Ruiz.
UCC’s Mental Matters event was made possible by the support of Partnership for Children of Essex.
The event is also supported by Amerigroup.
For more information about Mental Matters, visit uccnewark.org.