WAKEFIELD — May is designated as Mental Health Awareness Month and Gogebic Community Mental Health’s Anti-Stigma Committee continues their efforts to end the stigma associated with mental illnesses and intellectual/developmental disabilities. CMH is planning their sixth annual “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” rally, following the lead of the Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards. MACMHB, the educational and political arm of mental health programs in the state, just held their 13th annual rally on May 10, at the Capitol Building in Lansing. Nearly 1,000 people participated in their rally, including advocates from Michigan’s 83 counties, state legislators, mental health and developmental disability workers, and all provided statements related to supporting persons with disabilities and providing opportunities for recovery, self-determination, and community integration. Because of the travel distance to Lansing, CMH continues to plan their own rally in Gogebic County, which is scheduled for Wednesday, May 24, at the Wakefield V.F.W. Registration begins at 10 a.m. and the rally will start at 10:30 a.m. One in five adults and one in ten children will experience a mental health disorder at some point in their life, yet many of them cannot or chose not to access the treatment they need. Statistics also show that 10 percent of children and adolescents suffer from serious emotional and mental disorders that cause significant functional impairment in their day to day lives at home, school, and with peers. The Walk A Mile event is held to help raise awareness of the (harmful) effects stigma associated with mental illness and disabilities has, and for everyone to accept individuals for who they are, and to focus on abilities, not disabilities. Ann Dahlin and her mom, Lorraine, and Amy Mattson are the featured speakers for this year’s event. The Dahlin’s are from Bessemer and will share their story regarding the positive experiences they had working collaboratively with different community organizations that assisted Ann with securing employment. Ms. Mattson, originally from Wakefield and now living and working in Wisconsin, will also share her recovery story. Bob Sheehan, Executive Director of MACMHB (Lansing), and Bill Slavin, CEO of NorthCare Network (Marquette) will also speak at the event. The program also includes an ‘open mic’ segment so individuals can share their stories, as well. To conclude the program, a symbolic walk will begin from the VFW to the Wakefield Visitors and Information Center and back, and participants will enjoy a light lunch afterward. Along with consumers, parents, guardians, and families, CMH encourages representatives from community associations, mental health and intellectual/developmental disability advocates, legislators, education staff and students, and the general public to join the rally and walk in support of mental health and intellectual/developmental disability awareness. CMH’s Anti-Stigma Committee sincerely thanks the students and teachers of the WakefieldMarenisco, A.D. Johnston, Luther L. Wright, and Bluff View Christian Schools for drawing Walk A Mile placemats that are used in local restaurants promoting the event. In addition to helping CMH advertise the event, by drawing on placemats, the students learn about mental illness and disabilities, to be kind to everyone, and to treat everyone with respect. In addition to being in the restaurants, placemats can be seen on CMH’s Facebook page. The Committee’s theme “Be Kind to Everyone” continues to be used for this special event. For more information or to preregister, call Missy Lane at 906- 229-6105 or

Community Mental Health plans 6th annual ‘Walk a Mile’ in My Shoes’ Rally