Making their pace to raise awareness, understanding and service for mental health care, five dozen hardy souls walked a rainy route along the Mississippi River the morning of May 18.
The walk, hosted by the Mental Wellness Campaign for Anoka County and staged at the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, was the fourth annual event of its kind.
“Mental wellness is as important as physical health,” said Sue Abderholden, executive director of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) of Minnesota, who served as guest speaker during a pre-walk program in Pavilion No. 3.
“This is about recovery, resiliency and hope. By being here you are saying you care and you will support.”
Also underneath the rooftop covering the pavilion, snacks were offered and supporting organizations displayed exhibits with information about mental health services and tips toward better mental health.
And then, just before Margie Rask of Emma B. Howe Family YMCA in Coon Rapids led walkers on a stretching/warm-up exercise as opening act to the 5K walk, Abderholden announced to walkers that Minnesota state legislators had passed the health and human services bill late Thursday evening.
“This allows money for mental health grants, employment, housing and more,” Abderholden said.
Her announcement seemed to energize walkers and fuel their steps for the 5K journey.
Wrapped in raincoats and ducking underneath umbrellas, the walkers stepped along the riverbank, determined to increase awareness and raise money for mental wellness on that rainy Saturday morning.
To learn more about the Mental Wellness Campaign for Anoka County visit www.mwcac.org.
5K Walk for Mental Wellness sponsors
Sponsors for the fourth annual 5K Walk for Mental Wellness were Connexus Energy, Allina Health, Riverplace Counseling Services, Spring Lake Park Lions Club, Nystrom and Associates, Terry Overacker Plumbing, Bill Pinsonnault, Family Innovations, NAMI Minnesota, Volunteers of America, Abeler Chiropractic and Lee Carlson Center. In-kind donors included Party Papers, Allegra Printing and Potbelly’s.
Sue Austreng is at