The Interfaith Clergy Association of Bayonne will once again host events on mental health

The Bayonne Interfaith Clergy Association is partnering with the city of Bayonne to host a series of mental health awareness events in 16th Street Park. The inaugural series kicked off last summer as residents searched for some normalcy amid easing COVID-19 restrictions.

In an interview with the News from the Community of BayonneReverend Dorothy Patterson of Wallace Temple AME Zion Church described the importance of these types of events, now more than ever.

Promoting Mental Health Awareness

“We still stick to the underlying theme of mental health awareness,” Patterson said. “This piece is important. You can’t let this pass. It’s just too big. We see it every day. »

Seeing the need for more mental health awareness, Patterson said the Bayonne Interfaith Clergy Association decided to hold the series of events again. The first event will focus on knowledge sharing as well as raising awareness.

“So what we’re doing is providing resources focused on mental health awareness,” she said.

This event will provide residents with mental health resources and information, as well as free treats, on June 30 at 6:30 p.m. at 16th Street Park. Patterson said there are a number of organizations in Bayonne and some that operate across the county that will be attending.

“We’re going to have at least 20 different organizations there just so people can go out and get free information,” she said. “We’ll probably have free ice cream, as well as we’ll give it away because it’s probably going to be hot in June.”

Film showing in July

Following a similar format to last year, Patterson said the second event will be a movie shown in the park next month. Residents can gather to watch”Encanto” around 7:30 p.m. on July 28 at 16th Street Park or when the sun has set to see the film outside.

“Then we’ll come back in July and do a movie,” Patterson said. “The underlying theme is always [mental health awareness].”

Patterson added that there will be a presentation before the film begins, perhaps something related to school safety. In the wake of the shooting at the school in Uvalde, among other problems in schools, the subject is very topical.

“Based on everything that’s going on, we can do something about it, maybe a thirty-minute segment, and then we’ll go into the movie,” she said.

Similar mental health resources will also be available at the second event. According to Patterson, the purpose of screening the film is also to promote mental health awareness.

“I can’t say enough about the importance of being aware of what’s going on in terms of personal mental health,” she said.

Part of being aware means engaging in take care of yourself, strive for better mental health and look beyond the stigma around mental health and seek treatment, according to Patterson.

Breaking the Stigma

Sometimes the stigma around mental illness and getting help is enough to keep people from seeking treatment. This is something Patterson is also looking to address.

“These stigmas become a barrier and the walls that are built don’t allow us to be the healthier person we can be,” she said. “They are a hindrance to getting advice.”

According to Patterson, she and several of her colleagues have a counselor, which is an important part of maintaining good mental health.

“What we really want to do is have a counselor, someone you can come and talk to about any situation or challenge that may come up in your life,” she said. “Over the past couple of years, it’s definitely made it worse because you have heartbreak upon heartbreak upon heartbreak… I don’t have all the answers, but what I tell people all the time is that they come for help. There are agencies, there are counseling centers, there are people available in this town who can help. Sometimes people just need someone to listen to them. That’s what counselors do. »

Patterson reiterated that there has never been a more important time for mental health awareness, so the series of events continued this year. And more events will likely be announced for the coming months.

For updates on this story and others, visit www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at [email protected]

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