Event coordinator Dawn Churchill commented that finalization of daily events during the week of May 12-16 are underway. The kick-off event will be an open house at the Safe Haven Drop-in Center at 131 5th Street in Colusa.
The open house will include a symbolic ribbon cutting by the Colusa County Chamber of Commerce as the Center dedicates a bench in memory of the late Mental Health Services Act Coordinator Dereck Parks. Parks, who passed away suddenly this year, was an integral part of the center and of the lives of the individuals who are a part of its programs.
The plan for the bench is to place it in front of the building where many of the Center participants wait for rides.
“We think it will be a nice way to honor Dereck and it will also benefit our people,” said Valerie Stirling, peer support specialist at the center.
The Colusa County Department of Behavioral Health has participated in the nationwide program for the past 12 years by hosting an annual S.O.S. & Recovery Rally in Colusa County.
The Rally here first began as a one hour program, but over the years it has grown to include more events and more community support.
In 2012 world renowned Native American flutist, storyteller and flute maker Keith Bear visited the county for a week performing at each Colusa County School and at the final event dinner and rally.
In 2013, Assemblyman Dan Logue was keynote speaker for the rally dinner at Steelhead Lodge Bar & Grill where he addressed the Behavioral Health clients, staff, community leaders and guests.
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.
Published information states that Depression Bipolar Support Alliance – Colusa Chapter and the Colusa County Mental Health Department acknowledge that it is reported an estimated 50 million Americans experience a mental disorder in any given year and only one-fourth of them actually receive mental health and other services.
Reports also indicate that an obstacle such as the stigma that surrounds mental illness is caused by a history of misunderstanding, fear and embarrassment.
Mental Health board, staff and volunteers associated with the CCBH and its programs have commented that this year’s event is an effort to educate the public to the programs available in the county, and to introduce the community to the challenges and success the programs provide.
“We would really like for the community to become more aware of what services are available,” said Churchill.
“It is our goal once again this year to have as many community members as possible join us in this celebration and education opportunity,” she added.
The S.O.S. Rally serves as an 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.
Churchill said that she is pleased with the response they have received in the event planning to date. “We appreciate our primary sponsors; Hoblit Motors, Premier Mushrooms Inc., AGL Resources (Central Valley Gas Storage), Territorial Dispatch and Supervisor Tom Indrieri,” said Churchill.
For more information on the week’s activities contact Churchill at (916) 968-8140.