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Event pedals mental health awareness message

Event pedals mental health awareness message

Oak Ridge, TN — May brings good news regarding the importance of mental health awareness. Ridgeview will be hosting the 3rd Annual Ride for Hope on Friday, May 5 from 11:30 – 1:30 on the climbing tower lawn at 240 W Tyrone Road in Oak Ridge. The event is open to the public.

The event festivities begin with the arrival of bicyclists who will be launched by Department of Children’s Services Deputy Director, Dr. Michael Cull, in Clinton early that morning. The cyclists stop at Anderson County Courthouse to receive a mental health proclamation from Mayor Terry Frank before pedaling to Robertsville Middle School, where they’ll hand out green bracelets to students. Following the arrival of the cyclists at Ridgeview at Noon, attendees will hear remarks from Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Commissioner Marie Williams, before recognizing a CIT Officer of the Year from ORPD. Musical entertainment will be provided by local Sydney Buckner.

DCS invites the public to join in the celebratory recognition of high school graduates at Noon. Katie Butler, Independent Living Specialist for DCS, said, “The value of this event is priceless. Many of our youth have been recognized for negative qualities and for us to be able to highlight their strengths and successes is so impactful.” Butler added, “The fact that our youth can persevere through the trauma of removal from their home and navigate the foster care system to succeeding educationally is a benchmark we, as a department, feel it deserves recognition.”

“The good news,” according to Brian Buuck, CEO of Ridgeview Behavioral Health Services, “is that our collective efforts to elevate mental health literacy across our communities are making a difference in helping individuals seek help earlier. Prevention, early identification and intervention, and integrated care work,” said Buuck. “Intervening effectively during early stages of mental health issues can save lives and change the trajectory of life.”

“By pedaling a message of hope with community partners,” said DCS cyclist Joe Pinkerton, “we signal a collective change in the way we view mental health needs of everyone, including children and families involved with DCS. Riding my bike connects me to my childhood, it promotes my overall well-being, and it is a positive way to promote good news related to mental health services.”

Indeed, May brings good news of mental health awareness, and riding a bike is not required to show your support and enjoy the event on May 5 at 11:30! Consider this month the importance of addressing mental health symptoms before the acuity of Stage 4. Early screening for all ages is a positive step for the community and leads to improved, healthier, more productive lives.

Photo: Cyclists receive proclamation from Mayor Terry Frank during 2016 event.
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Michael Yates is Director of Development for Ridgeview
Ridgeview is a private, not for profit community mental health center with locations in Anderson, Campbell, Morgan, Roane, and Scott counties.