The nonprofit i understand is working with a group of organizations to host an event in Ada this week to offer resources for sufferers of mental and brain health issues and their loved ones.
i understand is encouraging people to participate in Mental Health Action Day at the event Ada understands from 4-7 p.m. Thursday in Ada Village. Area businesses will show their support by offering live music, store specials and discounts, or hosting a mental health action initiative. Partnering nonprofits and mental health care facilities will be on-site with resources. A list of participants can be found here.
Mental Health Action Day is an open-source movement of brands, organizations and cultural leaders working to move the objective of “mental health awareness” toward “mental health action.” The more than 1,000 organizations nationwide that are part of the movement offer free and easily accessible resources online to reinforce that everyone has mental health needs, and people can take care of their emotional well-being in the same way they tend to their physical health to prevent a crisis.
During the past two decades, suicide rates have risen, particularly among young adults, i understand said. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the crisis, creating what many mental health professionals have called the “second pandemic.”
Though more people than ever are comfortable discussing mental health, finding effective resources and knowing how to get help remains a challenge, according to i understand.
i understand is asking the West Michigan community to take mental health action — whether for themselves or their loved ones — by attending Ada understands and/or participating in the Wristband Project. i understand will provide wristbands for people to wear their illness/source of pain on their wrists to show others they are not alone — many people have experienced loss, depression, anxiety or a form of mental or brain illness.
On Thursday, i understand founder Vonnie Woodrick will wear a pink wristband for suicide loss and a blue wristband for anxiety. She said mental and brain illnesses need to be seen, not hidden and normalized, not judged.
“It takes just one person to understand or acknowledge the pain someone is feeling due to a mental/brain health illness,” Woodrick said. “Will you be the one?”
Wristbands in the following colors will be available at the Ada understands event or by contacting i understand:
- Pink — suicide loss/suicide survivor
- Green — depression/bipolar/mental health disorder
- Blue — anxiety, PTSD, OCD/pain/autism
- Purple — eating disorders, domestic violence, caregiver
- Yellow — equality
- Orange — self-harm, ADHD
- Red — substance abuse
- Gray — personality disorder
Mental Health Action Day
Mental Health Action Day, founded this year, is hosted in partnership with TaskForce, a cultural organizing agency that builds capacity for those taking on the most pressing challenges facing local communities, the nation and the world.
Founded in 2014 by Woodrick in loving memory of her husband Rob, who lost his battle with depression, i understand is a nonprofit that offers compassionate comfort for those affected by suicide and mental health/brain illness or pain. The organization works toward a future where the stigma associated with mental and brain health issues is erased.