County celebrates Mental Health Awareness Month

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Events throughout the county will focus on reducing the stigma of seeking mental health services
@TheSunGazette
VISALIA – May is Mental Health Month, and the Tulare County Health & Human Services Mental Health Branch is raising awareness about the connection between physical and mental health by holding events throughout the county.
“Prevention, early intervention, education, and engagement are key in addressing mental health issues,” says Donna Ortiz, deputy director of Mental Health Integrated Services.
Maintaining mental health involves a balanced diet; regular exercise and sleep patterns; emotional awareness; developing a sense of self-worth and coping skills that promote resiliency; and connections to family, friends, and the community. For some residents, moving toward wellness also involves the assistance of medical staff and counselors.
A healthy lifestyle can help prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, as well as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other chronic health problems. Exercise can improve mental wellness, control weight, and assist with getting a good night’ s sleep—which is important for mental resiliency and reduction of stress. Staying engaged and making healthy lifestyle choices can have a positive impact for overall well-being.
On Tuesday, April 30, the Board of Supervisors presented a proclamation to recognize May as “Mental Health Awareness Month” in Tulare County. 
Community members are encouraged to attend some of these other events during month:
  • Wednesday, May 1, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Porterville Mini-Conference to address culture of poverty, suicide prevention, alcohol and other drugs, commercially sexually exploited children, LGBTQ, and a foster youth panel; to be held in the Porterville College Theater
  • Friday, May 3, 5 to 8 p.m.: The Arts Consortium and My Voice Media Center are hosting the annual lived experience artistic showcase in the form of an open mic night! Register at the door to share your talent!
  • Friday, May 3, 7 p.m.: Mental Health Awareness Night at the Rawhide; will include information booths and a baseball hat giveaway to the first 500 people in the door. Tickets are available for purchase through the Rawhide box office.
  • Saturday, May 4, Cinco de Mayo Parade in Porterville: The Porterville Mental Health Clinic and Youth Services partners with the South County One-Stop Center, South County Mobile Services, and the Crossroads Transitional-Age Youth Housing program to host a float in the parade.
Family Resource Centers’ throughout Tulare County will also be hosting Children’s Art Shows in Spanish on the following dates and locations:
  • May 8, Earlimart, 3 to 6 p.m., 114 N. Front St., Earlimart
  • May 10, Woodlake, 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the Woodlake Plaza
  • May 15, Visalia, 3 to 6 p.m., Parenting Network, 330 N. Johnson St., Visalia
  • May 15, Lindsay, 2 to 4 p.m., 400 E. Hermosa, Lindsay
  • May 17, Cutler-Orosi, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., 40802 Road 128, Orosi
  • May 22, Porterville, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., 770 N. Main St., Porterville
For more information on Mental Health Awareness Month, visit  www.tchhsa.org. For more information on mental health facts, visit: www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may.