Crow Wing Energized: Raising Mental Health Awareness Through a 5K
Prior to being a psychology instructor at Central Lakes College, I worked as a mental health social worker and in-home counselor for over six years.
Professionally, I’ve witnessed that a common barrier to accepting help and working on mental health issues is the stigma associated with having a diagnosis. I’ve continued to see this barrier of stigma in my role as an instructor. Students and co-workers are often hesitant to talk about these struggles, as they sometimes perceived as character flaws.
I personally have benefited from therapy to address anxiety, which reached an unmanageable level postpartum after having my boys, who are now 2 and 4. In addition to therapy, a huge part of coping with anxiety has been through running. And, it is well researched that exercise can be an extremely beneficial tool for managing and reducing mental health symptoms.
I believe the more we talk and share our stories, the more we will change the conversation around mental health. If there is any topic that embraces students, connections, and comfort zones at CLC, it’s our work around mental health.
This complicated and difficult topic is important to all of us, and we’re committed to making CLC a place where it is “OK to not be OK.” CLC recently hosted “Make it OK” ambassador training to help prepare people to go into the community and help to reduce the stigma around mental health. Training was provided by Essentia Health staff.
Increased awareness about mental health helps to reduce stigma. On May 9, CLC is hosting a 5K to help bring awareness to this topic. One of the reasons we decided to host this 5K now is because our president has been vocal and supportive about mental health topics. With this support, and knowing that mental health needs continue to rise, we felt it was a perfect time to continue the initiatives that have been started.
The 5K for Mental Health awareness will be located at CLC and will consist of a 5K (3.1 mile) timed run or walk or you can choose the 1-mile dedication walk (for those that wish to support mental health awareness but are not runners). This event has been a collaborative effort of faculty, staff and CLC Psychology Club students.
In addition to raising awareness about mental health, a portion of the proceeds from the race will go to the CLC Food Pantry. We know that nearly half of CLC students are food insecure, meaning they do not have a steady food income. Stressors such as these often contribute to worsening mental health issues and students are not able to focus as well in class if they are hungry.
5K for Mental Health Awareness
Event will consist of a 5K timed race or walk and there is also an option to participate in a 1-mile
dedication walk for non-runners.
Date: May 9, 2020.
Time: 7:30-8:30 a.m. onsite registration. Race starts at 9 a.m. Awards at 10 a.m.
Location: Central Lakes College Brainerd Campus
Cost: $25/$10 for CLC Students