Walk and health fair at Albion park puts focus on mental health

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 May 2024 at 5:16 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – This group takes part in a Mental Health Walk and Health Fair today at Bullard park. Participants joined on the crusher-run walking trail on the perimeter of the park.

The Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern organized the event for the first time. Participating agencies at the health fair included GOMOC, UConnectCare (formerly GCASA), NYS Senior Action Council, the Orleans County mental Health Department, Fidelis and Healthy Families (serving Orleans and Niagara counties).

Participants received t-shirts with a quote, “May the Fourth be with your Mental Health.”

Jami Allport, GOMOC director, said the agency wanted a local event as part of May as mental Health Awareness Month.

Pattie Beadle brought two llamas for the event. Beadle is a therapist with the Orleans County mental Health Department. She also has been showing llamas for about 30 years. She noticed at llama shows the animals have a calming effect on visitors.

She is working to have the llamas be certified as therapy animals.

Beadle is shown with “Slick.” Her other llama “Oscar” is in back.

“When people touch a llama, a calm comes over them,” she said.

These people start the walk for mental health. There were several signs about mental health myths and facts posted along the trail.

This sign said the following:

Myth: Children don’t experience mental health problems.

Fact: Even very young children may show warning signs of mental health concerns. Early support can help a child before mental problems interfere with other developmental needs.

Myth: People with mental health problems are violent and unpredictable.

Fact: The majority of people with mental health problems are not or likely to be more violent than anyone else. In fact, many people with mental health problems are highly active and productive members of their communities.