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Mental Health Walk draws more than 150 attendees

More than 150 people attended the sixth annual Mental Health Walk on Thursday, May 18. (Beth Leipholtz | Echo Press) 1 / 2
Jazz musician Sam Miltich of Grand Rapids has battled schizophrenia for 10 years and spoke to the attendees at the Mental Health Walk about his struggles. (Beth Leipholtz | Echo Press) 2 / 2

The Vikingland Community Support Program has a new office location, and on Thursday, May 18, more than 150 people cycled through.

The afternoon marked the sixth annual Mental Health Walk, as well as the open house for the new location. The walk is done each year to bring awareness to mental health and its effects, as May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

Attendees marched four blocks from the office to the City Hall and back, carrying signs with messages such as “Mental health affects everyone” and “Let’s stomp out the stigma.” Afterwards, they were treated to a lunch donated by Cub Foods, as well as a message from 32-year-old jazz musician Sam Miltich of Grand Rapids, who has battled schizophrenia for 10 years.

“When I was 22 years old, a metaphorical freight train slammed into my head, and I’ve been dealing with my illness with varying degrees of wellness and deep struggle ever since,” he told the crowd. “I tell you truly the last thing I wish to be doing today is to be talking about my mental illness. I do this out of a sense of duty to speak for those with mental illness who cannot speak for themselves or whose voices are not being heard.”

This event is sponsored by the Douglas County Local Advisory Council on Adult Mental Health. Miltich's appearance was made possible by the Evansville Art Center.

Beth Leipholtz

Beth is a reporter at the Echo Press. She graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in May 2015 with a degree in Communication and Hispanic Studies. Journalism has always been her passion, but she also enjoys blogging and graphic design. In her spare time, she's most likely at Crossfit or at home with her boyfriend and three dogs.

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