Guilford County is hosting a Mental Health Awareness Festival on Thursday, May 25, and the county, along with its mental health partners, is promising it will be a “fun, informative festival to support mental health.”

The public portion of the festival will start at 2:45 p.m. and will be a “celebration of mental wellness in Guilford County that includes information on mental health resources in the county, health screenings, self-care stations, therapy dogs, yoga sessions, dancing, games, face painting for children and food trucks for everyone.

The festival will be held at Guilford County’s NC Cooperative Extension Center at 3309 Burlington Road in Greensboro.  (Many know it simply as the Ag Center.)

A press release from the county calls mental health “an important component to overall wellbeing” and said the festival was meant “to support mental health, increase awareness in the community about resources to support mental wellbeing, and to reduce the stigma around mental illness and substance misuse.”

The public festivities and infotainment activities will run from 2:45 to 6 p.m. on Thursday.

Guilford County Behavioral Health Director Debra Mack is offering a wide-open invitation to everyone: “We invite residents to join us for a celebration of mental wellness and a chance to learn more about the local mental health resources available across Guilford County. This family friendly event is one way the county is working to remove the stigma around mental illness and substance misuse. Our goal is to empower people to speak up about their mental health, whether it be illness or wellness, and to guild them to the resources available in Guilford County.”

At the event, county staff will provide attendees with a new mental health resources pocket guide that mirrors the county’s recently launched mental health resources webpage. The guide and webpage both include information on mental and behavioral health resources in Guilford County.

Before the public part of the festival begins, Guilford County At-Large Commissioner Kay Cashion, who’s been a staunch advocate of efforts to improve mental health in the county during her two decades on the board, will speak to mental health officials, administrators and members of the press about mental health efforts in the county.  That will be followed by a “Lunch and Learn with Sandhills Center on Tailored Care Management Plan.”  Sandhills is the entity that acts as the administrator of mental health care services for Guilford County.

Cashion sent out the following statement on the event, “The Guilford County Behavioral Health Oversight Board is excited to host the festival and hopes to amplify understanding around mental wellness. We are looking forward to an afternoon of food and fun while connecting residents to more information about the county’s mental health resources.

She added, “We want to invite all our residents to come and learn about the available services in our community, services like the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline and the services offered at the Behavioral Health Urgent Care on Third Street. These community awareness events help us connect with one another and take a significant step towards breaking the stigma around mental illness and substance misuse. By educating our community about the resources available, we can help save lives and pave a pathway to a happier and healthier community for all.”