WAKEFIELD  —      Gogebic County  Community  Mental Health will aim to end the stig- ma  associated   with   mental health issues as  it  hosts    the ninth annual Walk a Mile in My Shoes rally on Sept. 15 at the Wakefield VFW Post 9084.

“They main goal is to raise awareness (for mental health)” said   Angel   Robles,   GCCMH quality improvement coordinator and community liason.

Robles  said  they  want to educate the public and legislators  as to why mental health matters, end stigma related to mental  illness  and  intellectual/developmental  disabilities, and educate people as to why equal coverage on both mental and physical health coverage is needed in Michigan.

The event  is  free,   but participants are required to sign up. Registration opens at 10 a.m. and the program will begin  at  10:30  a.m. The event includes  a  program  with  guest  speakers and   a  short   walk  along Lakeshore  Drive, followed by a light lunch.

“We’ll have people from the community, as well as people hopefully from the group homes, that  will be speaking  about  their  mental health  and  why it matters,” said Robles.

The event, which is held annually statewide, usually takes place in the  spring said  Robles. However they are holding it in the fall this year as a result  of  COVID restrictions  last spring.

“Some of the group homes and different people dress up…  There will  be people  in  costumes,”  said

Robles. “This year’s theme is going to be rainbows and bumblebees.”

She  said  the  rainbows are  to  represent   LGBTQ+ pride  and  the bumblebees are the  symbol  for the  Be Kind People  Project.   The project   teaches  students  how  to  be  kind   to  each other.

Robles   said   they   are hoping  to raise  awareness that bullying of LGBTQ+ is an issue in not only in this community,   but  in  every

community.  She said there is a lot of bullying because of a lack of understanding, that  directly  impacts   the mental health of people in the LGBTQ+ community.

“People get  bullied  for many reasons, but that can be a very big factor for bullying,” she said. “Be Kind is like an anti-bullying  pro- gram  in  the   school   systems.  It teaches people  to be kind to everyone and it’s super important.”

CMH to hold awareness walk for mental health