Mental health walk to continue, with support from Brown’s

A run/walk geared towards raising awareness of mental health will be continuing this year after some local agencies teamed up to make sure it would stay active.

The walk, which will be held with the assistance of the Youth Empowerment Association and the Iowa Partnership for Success grant, is May 30.

The IPFS grant was implemented in June 2016 with the goal of combatting underage and youth binge drinking.

Mickie Shubin, the Webster County Iowa Partnership for Success coordinator, who is also a certified prevention specialist with Community and Family Resources, said the walk began a few years ago with a Fort Dodge Senior High student.

Shubin said that student had wanted to raise awareness of mental health.

“This year, that student has graduated, so nobody was picking it up,” she said.

At a recent meeting, Shubin said she and other area mental health providers were talking about the walk and what a shame it was that it wasn’t going to happen this year.

That’s when Shubin had an idea.

“I contacted the Youth Empowerment Association and thought that, with their organization and with the Webster County Iowa Partnership for Success grant having the suicide prevention piece, that it would be great if we collaborate and bring something together so providers can have a venue to provide information about the services offered in Fort Dodge and Webster County,” she said. “We decided to go ahead and resurrect the walk/run.”

The event is held in May because of Mental Health Awareness Month.

Shubin said the walk took inspiration from the Third Thursday Fit Night, a once-a-month event held at Brown’s Shoe Fit Co., 210 S. 25th St.

Fit Night encourages healthy living by having participates run or walk for as long as they want for an hour.

Not only did the walk take inspiration from Brown’s Shoe Fit, but Shubin said Brown’s owner Craig Jarrard is allowing the groups to hold the event at the store.

The walk is about a mile to a mile and a half.

“Registration starts at 5:30 (p.m.) and then the walk/run will start at 6,” Shubin said. “It’ll follow the same path as Fit Night.”

Once participants return, she said there will be a drawing for prizes.

Additionally, she said Jarrard will be giving $10 Brown’s gift certificates for anyone who participates.

Admission is free, but freewill donation is encouraged.

Shubin said that money will go towards the Youth Empowerment Association.

She added that it’s important to raise awareness of mental health and suicide prevention.

One goal of the walk is to let people know what resources are available.

“I just want to make sure people are aware that there are resources out there,” she said. “If you’re feeling stressed and all of that kind of stuff where you do need a little bit of assistance, there are several providers in Fort Dodge and there are several resources out there.”

There are even online resources such as aimed towards helping people struggling with suicidal thoughts.

“They have a chat feature,” she said. “You can call in. There’s lots of resources that I don’t think many people realize that they can utilize to help with mental health.”

“I just really think it’s important because everybody goes through stuff sometimes and when you go through that period of your life, if you’re stressed and need a little help, there’s somebody there who can help you.”