Children’s Mental Health Awareness 5K Walk in May 5 at the Monroe Ponds

| 02 Apr 2018 | 01:08

MONROE — The Children’s Mental Health Awareness 5K Walk will be held on Saturday, May 5, at the Millponds in Monroe, beginning at 9 a.m., to support National Children's Mental Health Week.
This walk will raise funds and awareness to support youth and families in communities that have been touched by mental health issues, with the hope of ending stigmas tied to children’s mental health.
VoicesUnited4Change“This is VoicesUnited4Change’s main fund raiser,” said Anne-Marie Freitas, program coordinator of the organization. “It's is a grassroots organization made up of parents and youth who are passionate about advocating for children’s mental health. All of our adult members have experienced the heartache and joy that comes from having a child with social, emotional and/or behavioral problems, and all of our youth have experienced mental illness first hand and are fantastic testaments to resiliency.”
While mental health stigmas still exist because of a lack of understanding and education, event organizers feel it's possible for stigmas to be broken.
“VoicesUnited4Change offers trainings and workshops throughout the county to educate youth, parents, community members and providers about mental health challenges,” said Freitas. “The more people are educated and the more we talk about what children’s mental health challenges are and what they look like, the less stigma will be associated with mental health needs.”
There's no charge to participate in the walk, though donations are accepted, and sponsorships are welcome. Face painting and a tricky tray at the walk are part of the group's fund-raising effort; Girl Scouts and 4-H members will be there with crafts.
Money raised will be used to continue offering free peer-to-peer parent/caregiver and youth support groups, Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings, Family RoadMap workshops, one-on-one parent support, among other things.
“When people come together with a common goal, in this case children’s mental health issues, there is a sense of belonging and community that just naturally takes place,” said Freitas.
The essentialsRegistration begins at 8:30 a.m. To pre-register, purchase a walk t-shirt, sponsor or donate or to learn more, visit or call Anne-Marie Freitas at 360-8291 or email to,
- Christine Urio