World Mental Health Day, observed every October since 1992, brings global attention, education, and advocacy to mental illness and seeks to eradicate the stigma and discrimination that often leads to a life of isolation for those who are diagnosed. This year, the Academy has partnered with Mental Health Community Center, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Suncoast Behavioral Health Center, and First Step of Sarasota to organize a relay-walk across the picturesque John Ringling Causeway Bridge in downtown Sarasota.
Beginning at 7 am on Saturday, October 10, each agency will be decked out in a t-shirt designed by our own Academy Arts & Communications team in their chosen color (ours is Kelly green). One at a time, each group will span the bridge carrying a banner displaying World Mental Health Day along with a message of empowerment. Upon completing the crossing, they will pass the banner to the next group who will take their turn. As motorists pass by, our message of hope and unity will be on display for all to see. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to reach someone who needs to hear that help is out there.
World Mental Health Day is celebrated in more than 150 countries. It’s heartening to think that as we walk in solidarity here in Sarasota, there are thousands of people across the world who are with us in spirit; another testament to the fact that we are never alone.