2022 Mental Health Awareness Day

Independent Perspective 1696 with Lisa Marie Cruz on the 2022 Mental Health Awareness Day and the Flash Mob at the Central Library.

Host:  Welcome to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of Western New York Independent Living (WNYIL). Our guest today is Lisa Maria Cruz, Mental Health PEER Connections (MHPC) Outreach Coordinator, and I'm your host Ernie Churchwell. Welcome to the program, Lisa Maria.

Guest:  Thank you for having me.

Host: It's our pleasure. You're here because you're our agency's point person on a big event that's returned to in-person attendance after a couple of years of pandemic connected pause, which is the Mental Health Awareness Day Flash Mob. First, when and where and what is it?

Guest:  Well, the Mental Health Awareness Flash Mob, it started 10 years ago, because Lackawanna native Jonathan Ramos, who was an engineering student and UB football player. He struggled with schizophrenia and his family and he were trying to get him some support. And unfortunately, at the age of 22, he completed suicide by jumping off a parking ramp. His family felt the need to raise awareness to prevent this from happening with other youth. And so, we are having this year's flash mob at the downtown Central Library at 1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo, NY 14203 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. And people are encouraged to come and to wear their lime green t-shirts to show support.

Host:  Oh, that should give away that they're part of the festivities. I dare say we have some partner organizations in this event do we not.

Guest:  We sure do. Restoration Society and of course Best Self Behavioral Health.

Host:  Great. And you've already set up an agenda for people starting off with a state official coming to Buffalo for this occasion?

Guest:  Yes, we're very happy to get the Mental Health Commissioner Mark O'Brien he will be our opening speaker at 1:00 p.m. and then we're going to celebrate Mental Health Wellness with our flash mob dance. And that's going to be from 1:10 to 2:00. And then we're going to have Adithri perform and he's a local musician, rapper, DJ. And then at 2:30 we're going to have activities like rock painting and drawing as well. And then from 3:00 to 4:00 we're gonna have a quiz bowl which should be a lot of fun. And then the panel discussion will begin at 4:00 p.m. and that is A Pandemic within a Pandemic: young leaders and providers discuss challenges and strategies for youth and the young adult community. And one thing that I want to share is that during the Coronavirus pandemic, youth have been adversely affected by anxiety and depression. And this is a problem not only in the United States but globally.

Host:  It sounds like this is certainly a way to honor the Ramos family by bringing attention to this. And I gather there'll be a bunch of literature tables there so people who want more information on resources available in the community can pick them up and take them with them.

Guest:  Yep, probably about 25 organizations with information to share about community resources.

Host:  Great. Well talking about one stop shopping. And I understand that for people that want to make inquiries, there is a special email address that they could use. Could you share that please?

Guest:  Sure, the email is hope4mentalhealth5@gmail.com and they can always reach out to me my number is 836-0822 extension 520.

Host:  Thank you very much. I'm sure that this it's exciting that this is returning to a live in person and fun activity for anybody with the concerns mentioned and a sign that things are returning to something closer to post pandemic normal, which is exciting to just about everybody I dare say. Lisa Maria, thank you so much for being our guest and giving us all the lowdown. You have a great day.

Guest:  Thank you so much. And I hope to see you at this year's flash mob.

Host:  Thanks so much. You've been listening to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of WNYIL. Our guest today has been Lisa Maria Cruz, MHPC Outreach Coordinator. And I've been your host Ernie Churchwell.