image of Pam Brant holding a sign in the MCTC Maysville Campus Mental Health Awareness EventMaysville, KY-Although rainy weather forced the event inside, it didnt stop the nearly ninety community members from attending the Breaking the Chains Erasing the Stigma Mental Health Awareness Event last Friday evening at MCTC. What started as a suicide awareness event, broadened to focus on addictions, domestic violence, sexual abuse, suicide and mental health as well.

Exhibitors were lined up on both sides of the hallway outside of the Fields Auditorium to showcase the plethora of supportive services and resources available. For many, the exhibitors were an outlet for attendees to talk about concerns or challenges they themselves or loved ones were facing.

Amongst the exhibitors was the MCTC Student Government Association. Actively engaging with the crowd, they were busy getting signatures for people to pledge against sexual assault, part of the Its on Us! statewide initiative. We want people to join with us as one voice, to let people know that its on us to take a stand against sexual assault, stated Christa Webb, SGA President.

In the midst of the event, attendees were encouraged to enter the Fields Auditorium where six valiant individuals waited next to the stage to share their personal challenges to a crowd full of strangers. Domestic violence, suicide, drug abuse, mental illnesses and addictions were spoke of. At times, the room filled with emotion, energy and hope. Many from the audience left the room speechless, their faces tear stained. All left empowered, encouraged and hopeful.

A powerful conclusion to the event was a campus walk. Strategically placed throughout the campus hallways were individuals holding signs that featured statistics and inspiring messages; all driving home the same messageits ok to talk about it!

We are excited about the overwhelming amount of support received from the community for the Mental Health Awareness Event, stated event coordinator Hope Tyson. So many wonderful exhibitors were able to provide valuable information about the resources available, while the guest speakers shared their very personal, touching journeys with us. It was all very inspirational and gives us hope that we can make a difference, raise awareness, and erase the stigma.

For more information about the MHAE or to receive a list of the exhibitors in attendance, contact event coordinator Hope Tyson at 606-759-7141, ext. 66147.