People from All Michigan Counties Rally to Support Mental Health Care
LANSING - On May 6th, thousands of people gathered in the front lawn of the State Capitol. They are not just for the spring sunshine and warm weather, but also for the "Walk a Mile in My Shoes" Rally. It's the 11th year for the event to raise the awareness of mental illness and development disabilities.
Advocates are from Michigan's 83 counties, including the upper peninsula. At the beginning, they heard a speech from Anthony Ianni. He shared how he fought against autism and calls on people to care about the bully issue against autism children. Then county representatives take turns to tell why mental health facilities are important.
Michael Vizena, Executive Director of Michigan Association of Mental Health Boards, says "there is a flag from each of the counties, the 83 counties in Michigan. So we have representatives from those counties, who come up, who received services, and they make a short statement about the importance of the services to them."
Rebekah Zamora is a representative from Newyago County. She says she suffered suicidal ideation, depression and other mental illness and got the help through the community mental health facility. "It helped me immensely with my depression and with my anxiety. if I hadn't got that, I couldn't be able to do the interview like this," she said.
Zamora says for mental health service receives like her, the rally is also part of their submerging therapy, which allows them to be in the crowd and communicate with each other.
According to the Michigan Association of Mental Health Boards, 300,000 people are served thought their community mental health facilities across the state.