On Saturday, May 20, Lebanon County, in partnership with the Community Health Council, is hosting an inaugural Mental Health Awareness Festival! The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot of the CSG Psychiatric Rehabilitation program, located at 718 Poplar Street, Suite J, (near the 8th St Rail Trailhead) in Lebanon.

Since 1949, the month of May has been observed as “Mental Health Awareness Month,” increasing awareness and celebrating recovery by reaching out to millions of people to spread the word that mental health is something everyone should care about! Maintaining positive mental health allows you to feel, think, and act in ways that help you to navigate life’s challenges.

Last year, Lebanon County celebrated Mental Health Awareness Month by providing a daily activity calendar, with helpful tips, information, video and website links, suggestions for self-care, and more. The calendar, along with social medias tips, helped community members see the importance in maintaining and improving mental health each and every day.

Nikki Maurer Gray, executive director of the Community Health Council, commented that “often, people need to be reminded to practice self-care and take better care of themselves. That’s what Mental Health Awareness Month is for!” Some ways to practice self-care include getting enough sleep, making time for yourself every day, and staying connected to other people. It’s important to remember that everybody’s self-care looks different. Mental health is for all shapes and sizes, and there’s no “one size fits all” solution.

Embracing that philosophy, Lebanon County will promote mental health awareness by releasing a 2023 activity calendar, utilizing social media posts, and hosting a mental health awareness festival, titled “Just for the (Mental) Health of it!” The festival idea was pitched by Skyler Deitrick, Program Director for CSG’s Psych Rehab Program, and quickly gained momentum with support of local mental health providers and agencies. The idea originated from Skyler’s time working in Northumberland County, where the county hosted a “Recovery Festival” each year during the month of May. The festival included vendors, dancing, music, and activities, and became a way for individuals to have access to many mental health agencies and providers at one time.

The “Just for the (Mental) Health of it!” festival will include many mental health and wellness providers serving Lebanon County. Providers will offer promotional materials about their service/program, and are encouraged to incorporate a mental health themed activity for participants to enjoy. Organizations such as Lebanon County MH/ID/EI, CSG, Peerstar, WellSpan, and Amerihealth Caritas are confirmed, as well as services such as K-Pets Therapy Animals, WB Music Therapy, CATRA, and Halcyon Activity Center. The festival will also include a Wellness Walk, which will be held on the 8th Street Rail Trail, located near the event. Enjoy music, explore mental health services in the area, and help Lebanon County promote positivity, awareness, and recovery for Mental Health Awareness Month!

For additional information about the event, call 717-270-7935 or visit the Community Health Council website.