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Walkers raise awareness of mental health issues

Participants in the Walk for Wellness marched from Big Ole to City Hall in Alexandria last Thursday. The Douglas County Local Advisory Council on Mental Health organized the event as part of Mental Health Month. (Photo by Al Edenloff)

Mental health was the focus of a walk in Alexandria last Thursday afternoon.

Participants in the Walk for Wellness gathered at the Big Ole Viking statue and walked to City Hall in an effort to fight the stigma that clouds mental illness.

Mental illness, for example, is not a sign of moral or character weakness. It's also not a choice or contagious. It is a brain disorder that affects one out of every five people. It's a treatable but sometimes chronic condition.

The event was sponsored by Douglas County Local Advisory Council (LAC) on Mental Health. The council works to educate, inform and advocate county residents about mental illness.

It also provides information about local resources and support groups.

LAC meets the third Thursday of each month at 2:30 p.m. at the Douglas County Social Services Center. Anyone interested in mental health issues, including those who are coping with a mental illness or is concerned about a family member struggling with it, is invited to join the LAC.