Nicollet County Power Up clubhouse members want more people to be educated about mental health, and they don’t just talk, they walk too.
A group of nine took to the sidewalks of St. Peter on Tuesday afternoon with a variety of signs calling for community awareness and support. Their signs featured messages like “Fight the Good Fight”, “Stop the Stigma” and “Mental Health Matters”.
“What we’re trying to do is make it known that mental health shouldn’t be stigmatized,” said Althea Leonard, Clubhouse Peer Support Specialist. “We have to talk about it and people have to know what is going on. “
Nicollet County Coordinator Missy Haefner said the clubhouse is “like a drop-in activity center for people with severe and persistent mental illness, so we have recreational, social and educational activities based on the restoring”.
The Clubhouse, physically located downtown at 123 S. Minnesota Ave. in St. Peter, has about 60 current members, of whom about 30 per month are currently involved in activities, compared to about 48 per month during COVID peaks. Darlene Clarken, a member for about seven years, spoke about some of the activities.
“I love all the activities that we have. We have a birthday club once a month with cakes and usually play bingo, ”she said. “I love the educational events we do – going to the State Capitol for Mental Health Awareness Day. I have met a lot of friends through this group and I can do things with some members outside of the clubhouse activities.
Regarding the walk in particular, Sheila Bird-Bear added, “I love going there and I love being with a lot of people.”
This is the second time the group has ventured onto the march (interrupted by COVID in 2020), and the Clubhouse plans to make it an annual movement.
“We try to do it once a year and make it as public as possible,” said Brandon Stolt, member and six-year volunteer.
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