EL CENTRO - The Imperial County Behavioral Health Department recognized World Mental Health Day today by hosting a community health fair.
The fair is a landmark in the Imperial Valley as this is the first time that an event like this, is organized to celebrate World Mental Health Day.
The fair took place in the lawn area at the Imperial County Behavioral Health Offices and featured over 25 local health and service organizations.
One of the guest speakers at the event was Behavioral Health Department director, Michael Horn. He says that any mental illness can be treated in the valley.
"Anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress disorder", he says. "The problem is that people don't come in for treatment. They don't come in for treatment, they don't believe in treatment, a lot of times they don't have insurance, so they think that they can't get treatment".
He says that the key for patients is to be consistent.
"You're gonna get better. If you come in and you go through the treatment and you stick with it and you work with your therapist, you take the medicine, you will get better.
Araceli Gaines is one of the coordinators of events like these. She was happy with the fair's turnout.
"All the agencies throughout the year, we get together and we plan ahead", she says. "What resources are available, how can we bring information resources to the community. This is magnificent".
Sonia Villafana says that the past has shown us that foster children are more vulnerable to having mental health problems because of the situation they are put in.
"They were ending up homeless and all these things are things that affect their mental health status".
The Department of Social Services is working on a way of helping foster children after they turn 18, after they are away from their foster homes.
A raffle took place in which attendees bought tickets for the opportunity to win several prizes.
There was also a Zumba Dance demonstration … several attendees released some stress and anxiety by dancing Zumba while others just came for the information being handed out.
"It's really important", says El Centro resident Elizabeth Meraz. "There are a lot of programs that the Valley doesn't know about. This is a good opportunity to find about a lot of programs that are out there to help out. You can find out a lot of information".
World Mental Health day was established 20 years and the day's message remains as it was in 1992, to promote open discussion about mental health and how it affects the whole community.
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