(Submitted to the WPR)
On April 17, Colusa County Board of Supervisors declared by Board Resolution May 7-11 as Stamp Out Stigma (S.O.S.) Week in Colusa County. Later, during the Safe Haven Drop-In Center’s open house and ribbon cutting Board Chairman Gary Evans and Supervisor Kim Vann presented the proclamation document to Colusa County Behavioral Health interim director Williams Cornelius and peer support specialist Valerie Stirling.
The Colusa County Department of Behavioral Health has participated in the nationwide S.O.S. program for the past 10 years by hosting an annual S.O.S. Rally in Colusa County. This year’s event is the biggest rally it has ever hosted.
World renown Native American flutist and traditional storyteller Keith Bear will be the featured performer at this 11th annual S.O.S. Wellness & Recovery Rally at the Colusa County Fairgrounds beginning at 5:30 pm on Friday May 11.
However, Bear will also be visiting Colusa County Schools May 7-10 when he is scheduled to bring a number of assembly programs to the students. Additionally, Safe Haven Drop-In Center will host Bear to a reception in his honor on May 10 at the Drop-In Center.
“We are very excited to bring Keith Bear to Colusa County,” said Cornelius. “It is the Department’s goal to make this event something special for all Colusa County residents.”
The goal of the S.O.S. program is to educate and change public attitudes that may create stigma associated with persons seeking mental health services in Colusa County.
He added that it is very important for the community to be aware of the services available in the county.
The S.O. S. Rally is one example of what the Department is striving to do to educate and serve the community in an effort to prevent stigma that leads to isolation, and discourages people from seeking the treatment they need.
In the resolution, it is acknowledged that people who suffer from mental illness must be given the treatment, understanding, and the respect, they deserve.
It also acknowledges that the stigma that is attached to seeking mental health services may be a barrier to parents accessing necessary treatment for their children as an intervention for potential serious mental health issues.
The board approved the resolution in an effort to continue to stamp out the stigma associated with mental illness and the use of mental health services.
Tickets for the May 11 barbecue and rally are available at Safe Haven Drop-In Center at 131 5th Street in Colusa or by calling Valerie at (530) 458-0856. ■