Starting September 29 until December 9, libraries all over Kern will be hosting several creative events and a traveling art show in support of suicide prevention awareness and recovery in partnership with the Kern Behavioral Health & Recovery Services (BHRS). All events are free and open to the public.
“Our goal for these programs are to shift public perception, spread hope, and share vital information to residents by ensuring they have access to resources they need for prevention as well as to seek help,” reads the events brochure.
Different branches of the Kern County Library will be hosting different family crafts, teen activities, and film screenings that focus on themes of hope, addiction, recovery, and suicide. This week, the Arvin Branch held the art show, a family storytime, and craft, and a teen self-care poster art event, and will host a film screening on the 24th.
“With Hope and Recovery we’re trying to bring awareness about addiction, recovery, and suicide throughout the county because there are a lot of people who struggle and we know that it can be really hard to accept help or find help,” said Office Services Technician Ramos of the Arvin Branch Library. “And so what we’re trying to do is bring awareness to our community through programs, and story times such as what we’re doing today, about expressing your feelings because we know that sometimes people don’t know how to express how they feel whether it’s sadness or anger. We want to provide ways to teach people how to not bottle things up.”
Ramos said that people of all ages enjoy the activities and they each – kids, teens, adults – create fun experiences in their own ways.
“These programs are really important to have because maybe you don’t know how to express yourself so having programs like this help people take the first step in creating their own ways of coping or helping themselves when they feel really stressed or depressed,” stated Ramos.
The Hope & Recovery art show features artists from Creative Crossing Co-Create and focuses on the artists’ personal experiences with suicide prevention awareness and recovery. It first touched down at Beale Memorial Library, then will make its way to the Arvin Branch Library until October 24, and will travel to 7 more libraries until it eventually ends up at the Wilson Branch Library in the final week.
“I think it’s really cool that they’re doing art for suicide prevention. Usually, I see art from like Hispanic Heritage month especially, but suicide prevention, that’s really important. I think the paintings look really nice. It’s cool that they’re trying to bring the community together through different events at the library to bring awareness on suicide prevention,” said Sara Pantoja, a 16-year-old Arvin community member.
Any and all members of the community can come to join in on the fun and support offered at their local library. More information can be found on the Kern County Library website and physical brochures are available at the front desk.
“It really is just mainly about being able to speak up about the struggles that people are feeling because mental health is really important. It can be hard to ask for help and so if we bring more awareness to it and make it available to have an open conversation about, maybe we can provide some kind of hope where people have lost their faith, where they just don’t see the meaning of life and stuff. We just want to let people know that there is help out there and you are not alone,” said Ramos.