Raising mental health awareness | May 1, 2013 | Almanac | Almanac Online |



Community - May 1, 2013

Raising mental health awareness

by Renee Batti

The Mental Health Awareness Project will hold an inaugural event on Saturday, May 11, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Menlo Park City Council Chambers, 701 Laurel St.

Chip Huggins, CEO of Caminar for Mental Health, will deliver the keynote speech and participate in a panel discussion.

Sponsored by Turning Point, with co-sponsorship by the Menlo Park Library, the event has the theme, "Being an Advocate and an Ally."

The event is free. There will be more than 20 resource tables staffed by representatives from area mental health and mental health-related organizations.

Mr. Huggins is well-known on the Peninsula for his work in leadership roles with organizations including the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula, the Peninsula Community Foundation, and the Easter Seals Society. The head of Caminar for Mental Health, a nonprofit that provides support services for people with mental health and other disabilities, Mr. Huggins will address the stigmatization and societal shift in perspective of mental health conditions.

Others scheduled to participate in a panel discussion after the keynote speech are: Dr. Gary Tsai, resident psychiatrist for the San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services; and Mary Cortani, an Army veteran who founded the nonprofit Operation Freedom Paws to match dogs with veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders and other disabilities.

There will be a question-and-answer session after the panel discussion.

Live music and a poetry reading are part of the agenda, and there will be a display of 1,000 origami paper cranes. The display, called "Origami Skye," is a project launched by Turning Point and the Mental Health Awareness Project with Lisa Otsuka and her psychology students at Menlo-Atherton High School.


Posted by K Breisch, a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on May 10, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Roberta Roth and Menlo Park - Thank you for organizing an event on mental health. Congratulations to Turning Point on their inaugural event. My father committed suicide in 1978, just before my senior year in high school. People didn't talk about it back then. The only marketing piece, during that time that I recall about mental health, suicide was the movie A Reason to Live with Ricky Schroder in 1985. I hope the people that need to become more aware of this disease, show up tomorrow!