The inaugural local walk to honor those lost to suicide took place May 1 in the Prescott College Commons area. Participants carried candles as they walked together four times in a circle. They did this to honor those who have died, as well as to recognize that their own healing from the loss can be a long journey.
"Thank you for putting together a beautiful night - the first step to something so needed," said one participant.
The candlelight vigil was a kick-off event for a month filled with activities, all intended to raise awareness, increase education and erase stigma related to mental health.
The 2014 May Mental Health Month theme is "Mind Your Health," and the intent is to remind people that mental health is part of total health.
"Some of the activities may, at first glance, seem unconnected to a mental health month lineup," said Laura Norman, director of development and communication for West Yavapai Guidance Clinic. "But they each make a statement, provide an opportunity for dialogue, and allow opportunities for education here locally."
Norman pointed to the coloring contest, yoga classes and outdoor concert as examples. "The coloring contest provides an opportunity for parents to talk with their children about the brain and perhaps explain in a way they have not been able to before about why grandma struggles with sadness and depression. The yoga classes remind us that mind and body are connected, and true health and wellness means the total body. And the wonderful sounds of an evening outdoor concert are to remind us that we need to find beauty and joy in our lives, and that can be found in music."
Coloring Contest: For coloring sheets and details, go to http://couriercontest.com.
"The Wizard of Oz" by Lonesome Valley Playhouse, Prescott Valley United Methodist Church, 8944 E. Sommer Drive. $3 of every $10 ticket sale will be donated to WYGC. 2:30 p.m. May 4, 10; 7 p.m. May 9, 10.
Film screening: "Of Two Minds," 7 to 9 p.m. May 6, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Davis Learning Center. ). This documentary directed by Lisa Klein and Doug Blush follows extraordinary people living, struggling and succeeding with a bipolar disorder. Tickets: $5.
Free Music and Fun, Entertainment District, Prescott Valley, 5:30 to 7 p.m. May 8. Musical guests include Yavapai College Brass Quintet, the cast of "Wizard of Oz," and the PCAYS-Prescott Center for the Arts Young Singers.
ACE Study Presentation, 1 to 3 p.m. May 13, Prescott Public Library. Claire Louge with First Things First, will be providing an insightful presentation on the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) study, which assesses associations between childhood trauma and later-life health and well-being.
Yoga in Chino Valley, 6 to 7 p.m. May 14, Body Language Studio, 990 North Highway 89, Suite A. Enjoy an hour of free yoga focused on stress relief. Reducing one's stress can help with your mental well-being.
Yoga in Prescott (Deva Healing Center, 520 W. Sheldon) and Prescott Valley (Fusion of Movement, 6401 E. 2nd St.), 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. May 15.
Celebrate Life event, Prescott Gateway Mall, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 17. Learn about mental health and other health-related issues at this fun, family-friendly event.
Dealing with Caregiver Burnout, 10 to 11 a.m. May 19, Prescott Public Library. Pamela Creggar with Home Instead Senior Care will be present techniques to protect your stress level while providing loving care.
Seniors and Depression, West Yavapai Guidance Clinic, Chino Valley Clinic, 1 to 2 p.m. May 22. Learn how to help seniors who are experiencing depression.
Secondhand Shock and Compassion Fatigue Workshop, 1 to 4:30 p.m. May 28, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Davis Learning Center. This free workshop id for local individuals in the front line of helping those in crisis situations, and will explore the subtle and covert ways that absorbing others' trauma while controlling empathy gradually alters the structure of the brain, negatively affects the mind and can ultimately desensitize.
Alzheimer's/Dementia Free Family Education Workshop, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 31, Home Instead Senior Care. This free workshop is tailored for individuals caring for a loved family member with Alzheimer's disease or other dementia on a daily basis. Find out how to handle behaviors, and discover activities that are physically and emotionally engaging.
A full schedule with flyers and more details can be found at www.wygc.org.For more information, contact Laura Norman at 445-5211, ext. 3615 or firstname.lastname@example.org.