Community Bus Tour aims to promote mental health awareness and reduce crime

JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – Kennadi Larkins knows the struggles of mental health firsthand.

“When I was 9 I was on vacation with my grandparents and we got a call that my mother had passed away and since then my mental health has been going through ups and downs,” Larkins said.

Larkins now makes it her mission to help others struggling with mental health issues. His group, I am a Star Foundation, was one of many mental health organizations offering resources during Saturday’s Community Bus Tour at the Oakland Church.

The event was led by the Safety and Reduction of Crime Commission in partnership with JTA, with the aim of promoting mental health awareness in the community.

“We want people to know that mental health is not stigma. We are here as the City of Jacksonville to let citizens know that we have resources for them,” City Council Chairman Sam Newby said.

By having mental health resources available, leaders believe this could help reduce crime.

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Larkins’ father is proud of how far his daughter has come and encourages parents to recognize red flags.

“I would recommend to all parents that communication is key. When you see your child isolating themselves, wrapped up in their phone more than normal, they may be friends you haven’t normally seen before, I think these are signs and signs that your child is tending hand and wants to connect,” says Dwayne Larkins.

Kennadi Larkins hopes other children or adults struggling with mental health issues know they are not alone.

“I would like them to know that there is always someone here for them, and I will always be there to listen and if you ever need someone to talk to, please, please please contact me. Don’t suffer alone,” Kennadi Larkins said. “Someone will always take care of you.”

City leaders said they would hold more community bus tours for mental health events across the city. Those interested in learning more about available resources can find that information at 904-630-CITY or www.COJ.NET/SCRC.

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