Kern County gears up to ‘Break the Stigma’ for Mental Health Awareness Month

April 30, 2024 /

With tomorrow being the start of Mental Health Awareness Month, Kern Behavior Health and Recovery Services (KernBHRS) will be holding several outreach and education events and activities across Kern County. 

These events and activities aim to “Break the Stigma” associated with mental health while informing the community of available services.

Mental Health Awareness Month began in the United States in 1949 and was started by the Mental Health America (MHA) organization (then 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. The County’s theme for 2024 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,” a press release sent out by KernBHRS stated.

Some of the featured events and activities are highlighted below:

  • Wednesday, May 1 – The Kern County Administrative Office Uplighting
    • The County Administrative Offices will be lit up with lime green lights throughout May to raise awareness for mental health. Be sure to drive by after dusk!
  • Friday, May 10 – The 2024 KernBHRS Inspiration Awards
    • Every day, there are inspiring stories of hope and resilience taking place in Kern’s mental health community. The 2024 Inspiration Awards will honor these stories and the individuals behind them at an awards celebration from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at KernBHRS’ Westchester location.
  • Wednesday, May 15 – Grand Opening KernBHRS Psychiatric Health Facility
    • After a grand opening ceremony during the morning, the new Kern BHRS Psychiatric Health Facilities will be open to the public for guided tours from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at 702 Workman Street.
  • Wednesday, May 22 – Food & Fan Distribution
    • KernBHRS and The Applecore Project are partnering to distribute food and fans to some of Bakersfield’s most needy residents at 3:00 p.m. at 616 Grace Street.
  • Friday, May 24 – Community Narcan Training
    • Partnering with Kern County Public Health, KernBHRS’ Prevention team will be offering free Narcan training to the community at 10:00 a.m. at KernBHRS’ Westchester location. Public Health will also have EMS staff on hand to inform about when to call 9-1-1 and what to expect before, during, and after your call.

In addition to these events, KernBHRS will be hosting its signature event, Family Day at the California Living Museum (CALM) Zoo on Saturday, May 4. Admission for the entire family will be free all day and there will be coloring stations, opportunities to make Mother’s Day cards, laughing yoga, Polynesian dance performances, and more. 

“Spending time with our family and friends is one of the most powerful ways to spread hope and healing in our community,” said Liz Bailey, KernBHRS Administrator for Department Supports. “Please come join us in breaking the stigma surrounding mental health by enjoying fun activities including free train rides and of course the animals. You will be sure to learn about all of the amazing mental health and substance use services that you can share with anyone who is struggling, we hope to see you all there!”

The park will be open on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and is located at 10500 Alfred Harrel Highway in Bakersfield. The CALM Zoo has been in operation since 1983 and has over 40 different species of animals. It is dedicated to showcasing California’s native species and to the successful rehabilitation of wildlife.

A full list of events for the month of May is available below.

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