ALBEMARLE Co., Va. (WVIR) – Albemarle County leaders in government, education, and policing came together on Monday evening to rally around an important issue — mental health.
The work, they say, is ongoing even as Mental Health Awareness Month is halfway through.
It was a symbolic night, with two green lights illuminating the Albemarle County Office Building. But those who spoke at the event say that symbolism can be important too.
The two green lights matched the colors worn by many at the event, including Del. Rob Bell, a Republican who represents the 58th District.
“While they may not be able to see mental illness, it is affecting their neighbors, their family their friends,” Bell said. “And especially as we come out of COVID there’s every reason to think that there were some issues that did not get a chance to get treated.”
A largely symbolic night was a step forward for the improvement of mental health services.
Anna Mendez, the executive director of Partner for Mental Health, said events like the one on Monday are needed to knock down the stigma that’s been alive for years.
“People [are] being exposed over and over again to the idea that these are ubiquitous challenges and that it is okay to talk about it,” she said.
Del. Sally Hudson, a Democrat who represents the 57th District, also spoke. She said she hopes the motivation from these events can help her colleagues in Richmond when it comes time to legislate.
“When we hear a lot of talk about tax cuts on the campaign trail, when we’re not doing right by these essential healthcare workers who hold up our community, I think we need to make those investments,” Hudson said.
Copyright 2022 WVIR. All rights reserved.
Do you have a story idea? Send us your news tip here.