Raising awareness about mental health concerns
May is Mental Health Awareness month and advocacy groups want to spread awareness through an event held in Stevens Point.
"By bringing the community together, it lets people know that they are not alone and there are many people that they can relate to," said Andrea Morah, President of the NAMI Portage-Wood County Chapter.
They've been trying to bring this event together for three years, but complications often came up.
Now, they just want to help people.
"There's so many people out there that aren't getting treatment, so many people that aren't being helped and if we can help each other get through this journey, we can get on the other side of this," said Linda Froehlich, Treasurer.
NAMI, the National Alliance for Mental Illness, is a nonprofit that offers support for those going through mental illness, and they said it impacts everyone.
One in five adults experience mental illness each year.
17% of youth experience a mental health disorder each year.
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-14.
They're encouraging anyone who may be struggling to talk to someone.
"It's important to reach out because that's how you're going to get the help you need," said Morah.
You don't have to suffer alone.
"One of the worst things you could do would be to isolate and not get out and mingle with people so we want to get people out together," said Froehlich.
They acknowledged that recovery takes time, and it can't be forced, but they encouraged people to never give up on those they love.
"Understanding that sometimes they aren't ready for help, and you can't push people, but just being there for them, listening, sitting in it with them helps because they know somebody cares," said Morah.
And even in the darkest of times, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
"There's a lot of hope out there and there's things we can do and just different coping skills and things we can do to live a better life," said Froehlich.