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Strides against stigma

Walk aims to raise awareness that mental health issues not shameful

Published: Sunday, April 29, 2012 5:00 a.m. CDT

To raise awareness that May is Mental Health Awareness Month, the staff at Crossroads Counseling in Morris is hosting its first-ever 5K Run/Walk at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 5, at Gebhard Woods State Park.

The event, entitled “Race Away the Stigma,” was to be a combination of raising awareness that mental health complications are not shameful, but should not be taken lightly, as well as a push toward both mental and physical health.

“Mental health still has so much stigma attached to it,” said Angela Solis, owner of Crossroads and licensed clinical professional counselor. “Nobody wants to step up and say, ‘I’m struggling with depression, or bi-polar, or any other kind of disorder.’ There’s a lot of judgment placed on that.”

She said the idea for the run/walk is to combat that shame, encourage people to seek help if they need it, and to assist those that may not be able to afford the services they need.

“What we’re hoping to do (if enough money is raised at the 5K) is to start a fund to be able to help those that might not be able to access services,” Solis said.

Clinicians will be present on race day to speak to anyone interested about the services Crossroads provides.

As of Wednesday, April 25, 25 people had preregistered for the 5K. Solis said her original hope was to have 150, but would be happy with 50 to 70. She predicted that most of the participants would register the week of the race or on race day, May 5.

Preregistration must be postmarked by Friday, April 27, and sent to Crossroads Counseling Services 5K, 1802 N. Division Street, Suite 604, Morris. Preregistration is $25.

Anyone interested can also register online at www.crossroads-helps.com/race-away-the-stigma-5k. Race-day registration will cost $30. The kids’ race will cost $5.

After the race, Crossroads will hand out awards and will host a raffle with prizes, including Chicago White Sox tickets and an autographed baseball from a White Sox player.

“We’re going to run rain or shine,” Solis said.

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