With May 1 being the start of Mental Health Awareness Month, Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (KernBHRS) will be holding many outreach events and activities across Kern County to spread awareness of mental health issues and inform the community of the services available.
“Continuing the ‘Grounded in Health’ partnership with the Kern County Public Health Department, KernBHRS will take the lead on May’s theme ‘Seeking Help,’” KernBHRS stated in a press release. “As a community, we have come so far in normalizing discussion around mental health and its impact on our overall well-being. However, we still have work to do in ending the stigma associated with seeking help, and we hope this month continues to push our Kern County community forward.”
KernBHRS serves as the “Mental Health Plan” for Kern County and is contracted by the State as the managed care entity for Medi-Cal beneficiaries in Kern. The department manages all Medi-Cal specialty mental health and substance abuse Medi-Cal services. Through its staff and network of providers, KernBHRS provides needed behavioral health and substance use disorder services to children and adults countywide.
According to the press release sent out by KernBHRS, Mental Health Awareness Month began in the United States in 1949 and was started by the Mental Health America (MHA) organization, which use to be known as the National Association for Mental Health.
“Each year KernBHRS partners with the community in development for outreach activities during Mental Health Awareness Month. During the month of May, KernBHRS, its affiliates, and other organizations interested in mental health conduct a number of activities which are based on a different national theme each year,” stated KernBHRS. “The County’s theme for 2023 is Break The Stigma. Continually recognizing our mental health needs, seeking help, and ensuring we have resources for help are critical components to our health and well-being.”
Below are some of the featured events and activities planned:
- Monday, May 1 – The Kern County Administrative Building Uplighting – The County Administrative Building,1115 Truxtun Ave., Bakersfield, CA 93301, will be lit up with lime green lights throughout May to raise awareness for mental health. Be sure to drive by after dusk!
- Wednesday, May 3 – The 2023 Inspiration Awards – Everyday, there are inspiring stories of hope and resilience taking place in Kern’s mental health community. The 2023 Inspiration Awards will honor these stories and the individuals behind them at an awards celebration from 1:00 – 3:30 PM at the KernBHRS administration office, 2001 28th St., Bakersfield, CA 93301. This year’s nominations are attached to this e-mail.
- Monday, May 8 – Grounded in Health Press Conference – KernBHRS in conjunction with the Kern County Public Health Department will host this month’s Grounded in Health press conference at 11 a.m. in the courtyard at the KernBHRS administration offices, 2001 28th St., Bakersfield, CA 93301. There will also be an animal adoption event hosted by the Kern County Animal Services Department. Scheduled to speak are Executive Director Stacy Kuwahara, Dr. Christina Rajlal, Mental Health Services Act Coordinator, Brynn Carrigan, Director, Kern County Public Health Services, and Nick Cullen, Director of Kern County Animal Control.
- Saturday, May 13 –Keep Calm, Be Well – The California Living Museum is offering free admission for the entire family at the CALM Zoo, 10500 Alfred Harrel Highway, Bakersfield, CA, 93306. There will be interactive activities for the entire family, free La Rosa Paletas, and art featured by Creative Crossing. There will also be an opportunity to bring new or gently used stuffed animals to help stuff the Mobile Evaluation Team truck. These stuffed animals will be given to children during future crisis calls.
- Thursday, May 18 – Luca Movie & Free Bike Drawing – KernBHRS will be hosting a screening of Disney Pixar’s Luca at Kern County Library’s Southwest Branch, 8301 Ming Ave., Bakersfield, CA, 93311. There will be “under the sea” goody bags for children and opportunities to win one of four bicycles. May is also Bicycle Safety Month. The event begins at 2:30 p.m. with the moving running from 3:00 – 4:35 p.m. There will be two drawings before and after the showing.
To find a complete list of events and activities for Mental Health Awareness Month, visit www.kernbhrs.org/community.