Weekly Feature

2018-09-12 / Local News

Local advocacy group plans kite festival for mental health

Mental Health Peer Connection, a local advocacy organization that facilitates self-directed growth, wellness and choice through peer mentoring, will be holding a “Kite Festival Celebrating Mental Health” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, in Gratwick Waterfront Park on River Road in North Tonawanda.

Billed as “a fun activity for the whole family,” the festival encourages people with serious mental illnesses and their families to get treatment beyond medication by interacting with the wider community.

In announcing the festival, the MHPC argued that while the kite festival may seem a whimsical pursuit, there are solid mental health advocacy reasons for holding it, including:

• People with serious mental illnesses need more than medication, which is the dominant treatment for mental illness in psychiatric practices in the U.S. today. Beyond medication, they need activities that provide community involvement, interaction and recreation, such as kite flying, which also helps them to celebrate recovery.

• Statistically, one in every four families has a person with serious mental illness. Those individuals are increasingly becoming a part of the community as effective treatments are discovered and institutions are shut down. Therefore, the community must realize that it’s better to live with them than fight against them.

• Citizens must see that most people with serious mental illnesses are not a danger to society, but contributing taxpayers. Only 3 percent are dangerous, less than the 3.7 percent average of the total population that commits violent crimes.

In addition to kite flying, Saturday’s festival includes free hot dogs and other activities. Participants are also asked to bring a dish of food to pass and to supply their own kites if possible. Standard kites will be available for those who don’t have them.

To learn more about the festival, call Marykate Waringa at 836-0822, ext. 146.

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