Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 6:03 PM CDT|Updated: 13 hours ago

WAKEFIELD, Mich. (WLUC) – Mental health comes in many forms and affects people and ages differently.

11th Annual Walk-a-Mile Rally

Gogebic County Great Start Family Liaison Crystal Suzik says today’s Walk in My Shoes rally is all about educating and empowering people to know it’s okay to reach out for help.

“It doesn’t matter what your background is, who you are, mental health is just like your physical health. You need to take care of it and address it just the way you do anything else,” said Suzik.

Taking place at the VFW in Wakefield, the Walk in My Shoes rally had keynote speakers discuss mental health support. Philip Hefner’Gardiepy from Northpoint Behavioral Health says his goal is to encourage people across our area.

“I have had the pleasure of coming out to speak to all of these folks for the last 10 years, and to help build their strength to make them feel safe and to encourage them and to show them value and respect. Not just here in Gogebic County but throughout the U.P.,” said Hefner’Gardiepy.

Volunteer and Community Mental Health care manager Dustin Pitrone says Walk a Mile in My Shoes means it’s important not to judge and to seek to understand.

“Instead of judging a person on an act or behavior, look at their whole history. Look at all the things they may have gone through without making that judgment. So walking a mile in my shoes is walking with me through my life’s journey and maybe you will understand a bit better,” said Pitrone.

More information on mental health awareness can be found online. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health emergency, dial 988.

Wakefield VFW hosts 11th annual Walk a Mile in My Shoes Rally