Rural Health Council recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month – Eagle News Online

CAZENOVIA – This May, the Madison County Rural Health Council (MCRHC) recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month with “Just Walk!”, a series of Walk with a Doc (WWAD) programs at Lakeland Park in Cazenovia.

Started in 2005 by a cardiologist in Columbus, Ohio, WWAD is a national non-profit organization aimed at encouraging healthy physical activity in people of all ages and reversing the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle with the aim of improve the health and well-being of the country.

According to the MCRHC, the program has a proven track record of helping people lead healthy lifestyles through encouragement from physicians/other licensed health care professionals and interactions with others interested in improving their health.

The goal of the “Just Walk! from MCRHC The initiative is to promote physical activity and mental health awareness by bringing together licensed mental health professionals and community members to learn something new and take a walk.

“Given the impact of the ongoing pandemic, we wanted to focus on providing mental health information to the community through the WWAD program,” MCRHC Deputy Director Stephanie Henry said in a statement. release of April 25 announcing the initiative.

According to the press release, one in five American adults suffers from a mental illness each year and one in six Americans between the ages of 6 and 17 suffers from a mental health disorder each year.

WWAD programs will take place the first three Saturdays in May from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Each event will be hosted by a different mental health professional, who will give a brief presentation on a current health topic, then lead attendees on a one-mile walk through the village at their own pace.

According to the MCRHC, increasing exercise, even moderately, reduces the risk of many diseases, including coronary heart disease, breast and colon cancers, and type 2 diabetes.

“Research has even shown you could gain two hours of life for every hour of regular exercise,” the MCRHC press release reads.

The American Heart Association has also found that walking for as little as 30 minutes a day can improve blood pressure and blood sugar, help maintain healthy body weight and reduce the risk of obesity, improve mental well-being and reduce risk of osteoporosis.

On May 7, Marla Velky-Reger, LCSW-R, will kick off the series with a fireside chat about the mental health benefits of exercise.

Velky-Reger is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in Cazenovia. She also works with the Cazenovia Central School District as a mental health coordinator and is co-owner of Cazenovia Community Fitness.

“The MCRHC contacted me to discuss the program, [and] I was very interested in participating in dialogue with community members to discuss ways to improve our mental health,” said Velky-Reger. “We have all been impacted by the past two years and this forum is an opportunity to discuss concrete strategies to improve our mental health. . . I also hope people realize that taking care of our mental health is essential and as important as meeting our physical health needs.

On May 14, Breyanna Locke, LMFT, will share information to help people understand the biology of stress responses in the body.

Locke is a licensed clinician and resident of Cazenovia. She received clinical training in the Marriage and Family Therapy program at Syracuse University and has worked in the mental health field since 2010. She has dedicated much of her career with the Salvation Army to Syracuse, implementing behavioral health treatment interventions with children and families. In partnership with the Salvation Army’s Director of Child Protective Services, Locke developed and implemented a new behavioral health program for children with mental health needs in Onondaga County. She has also trained over 200 employees and community members in the Community Resiliency Model® (CRM). Currently, she has a full-time private practice in Manlius. Locke is also certified in the Functional Family Therapy Model, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, and CRM. She specializes in working with traumatized children and adults using neurobiology-based trauma treatment interventions. She also enjoys working with couples, families and other relationship dynamics.

“[During my presentation,] I would like to share some specific skills that anyone can use to bring body, mind, and spirit back into balance after going through very stressful situations,” Locke said. I hope participants learn skills and connect with each other during the program so that they have more useful tools to understand the connection between mind and body and bring our body back into balance after experiencing the physical and emotional adversity.

On May 21, Anne Reagan, Psy.D., will explore mental well-being in children and adolescents.

Reagan is a Pediatric Psychologist/Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Golisano Children’s Hospital. After graduating from Fayetteville Manlius High School in 2004, she attended the University of Massachusetts, where she studied psychology and early childhood education. Reagan then completed her doctorate in clinical psychology at Wright State in Dayton, Ohio, focusing on pediatric psychology, with a fellowship at Akron Children’s Hospital. She returned to Syracuse in an effort to integrate mental health resources into medical care facilities and helped establish the Pediatric Psychology Consultation Service and Behavioral Health Clinic through Children’s Hospital. of Golisano.

All three events are free and open to the public. Advance registration is not required.

For more information on “Just Walk!” Powered by Walk with a Doc”, call MCRHC at (315) 313-4399 or email [email protected] For updates, follow MCRHC on Facebook or Instagram @mcruralhealthcouncil.

Mental Health First Aid Trainings

MCRHC is also part of a national initiative to increase mental health literacy.

This spring, the organization is offering Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) trainings in Madison and Chenango counties.

The skills-based course gives people the tools to identify, understand and respond to someone who may be struggling with a mental health or addictions issue and, if necessary, connect them with support and advice. appropriate resources.

PSSM trainees learn a five-step action plan that guides them through the process of making contact and offering appropriate support.

MCRHC offers the following PSSM training: Teen, Youth, Adult, Fire and EMS, and Public Safety.

This spring, MCRHC is offering several virtual PSSM for Youth trainings that teach adults (18+) how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental health and substance use issues in older children and teens. from 6 to 18 years old.

The training will be offered May 4, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., May 12, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., June 15, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., July 20, 3 p.m. August, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and August 17 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

This summer, the MHRHC is also offering virtual training in PSSM for adults, which teaches adults to recognize the signs of mental health or addiction problems in adults 18 years and older, how to offer and provide initial help and how to guide a person to appropriate care. if necessary. The training is scheduled for July 15, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Through grants and a partnership with Madison County Behavioral Health, we are able to offer the MHFA training(s) free of charge,” Henry said.

To attend an upcoming training, call MCRHC at (315) 825-9233 or email [email protected]

The MCRHC is a nonprofit organization established in 2013 with a mission to advocate, inform, and coordinate efforts to improve health in Madison County communities. For more information, visit

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