HOLLAND, Michigan — Over the last few years, Barbara Lee VanHorssen has noticed an upward trend of people experiencing mental health issues, and of people wanting to know more about mental health.
"All of us are touched by this in one way or another, whether it's ourselves or our loved ones, whether we know about it or whether we don't," said VanHorssen, who serves as an "experi-mentor" at the Momentum Center for Social Engagement.
The Momentum Center wants to offer a safe space for people to learn about mental health so that they can improve their own lives, and the lives of their loved ones and community members.
Every Monday in August, the Momentum Center will be hosting a free mental health presentation beginning at 6:30 p.m. at its Holland location, 345 W. 14th Street. A variety of topics will be covered.
- August 1 - Mental Health 101
- August 8 - Suicide Prevention Training
- August 15 - Exploring Schizophrenia
- August 22 - Panic and Anxiety Disorders
- August 29 - Bipolar Disorder and Depression
People do not need to commit to attending all of the presentations in order to attend one of them.
The Momentum Center has hosted a similar event in Grand Haven before. They believe it was successful and they're excited to offer it to people in the Holland area as well.
"What was the most meaningful about the series when we offered it in Grand Haven was the sheer number of people that showed up. I was really surprised. In our small community we had 50, 60, 70 people at times show up for this series," VanHorssen said.
"Holland is a larger community. We have a larger venue. I hope that we can engage as many or more people."
The August 22 event on panic and anxiety disorders, VanHorssen says, will be of particular interest to the migrant community. Lupita Reyes, a bilingual clinical therapist at LAR Counseling Services will be leading that conversation.
"We invite migrant community and others into the community, the conversation, recognizing that anxiety can be a big adjustment factor for folks that are out of their natural their home environment," VanHorssen said.
Even if you're not aware of anyone struggling with mental health in your life, VanHorssen says being a part of discussions like these can help foster understanding and prepare people for anything.
"Coming out to learn about mental illness isn't about needing to be at a certain place in your own health or somebody else's. It's about learning so that we know how to respond in the future," she said.
"To have people show up saying, I care enough that I'm going to commit this time to learning how best to respond, how best to care for myself, how best to care for the people around me, is really, really incredibly encouraging and moving."
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