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Tulare County Marks Mental Health Month with Focus on Reducing Stigma

May is Mental Health Month, and the Tulare County Health & Human Services Mental Health Branch and its partners are raising awareness about the connection between physical and mental health by holding events throughout the county.

"Prevention, early intervention, education and engagement are key in addressing mental health issues," said Donna Ortiz, deputy director of Mental Health Integrated Services.

Maintaining mental health involves a balanced diet; regular exercise and sleep patterns; emotional awareness; developing a sense of self-worth and coping skills that promote resiliency; and connections to family, friends and the community. For some residents, moving toward wellness also involves the assistance of medical staff and counselors.

A healthy lifestyle can help prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, as well as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other chronic health problems. Exercise can improve mental wellness, control weight and assist with getting a good night's sleep, which is important for mental resiliency and reduction of stress. Staying engaged and making healthy lifestyle choices can have a positive impact for overall well-being.

Community members are encouraged to attend the following events during Mental Health Awareness Month:

Wednesday, May 1, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Porterville College Theater: Porterville Mini-Conference to address culture of poverty, suicide prevention, alcohol and other drugs, sexually exploited children, LGBTQ and a foster youth panel;

Friday, May 3, 5-8 p.m.: The Arts Consortium and My Voice Media Center in Visalia will host the annual Lived Experience Artistic Showcase in the form of an open mic night. Register at the door to share your talent.

Friday, May 3, 7 p.m.: Mental Health Awareness Night at the Rawhide will include information booths and a baseball hat giveaway to the first 500 people through the gate. Tickets are available for purchase at the Visalia Rawhide box office.

Saturday, May 4: The Cinco de Mayo Parade in Porterville will include a float from Porterville Mental Health Clinic and Youth Services, partnering with the South County One-Stop Center, South County Mobile Services and the Crossroads Transitional-Age Youth Housing program. Family Resource Centers' Children's Art Shows (Spanish language) will be held:

May 8, 3–6 p.m. at 114 N. Front St., Earlimart; May 10, 4:30-7 p.m. at the Woodlake Plaza;

May 15, 3–6 p.m. at Parenting Network, 330 N. Johnson St., Visalia;

May 15, 2–4 p.m. at 400 E. Hermosa, Lindsay;

May 17, 5:30–7:30 p.m., at 40802 Road 128, Orosi; and

May 22, 1:30-4:30 p.m., 770 N. Main St., Porterville.


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