Community holds walk to end stigmas associated with mental illness

MARQUETTE — About 300 people walked in unison Thursday afternoon, all with the same goal in mind: to end the stigmas associated with those who struggle with mental illness or intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The first annual Marquette County ‘Walk a Mile in My Shoes’ event was put on by Pathways at the Marquette Commons. Those who registered took part in a one–mile walk down the bike path to Seventh Street and back.

In addition to the walk, the event featured guest speakers and informational booths that focused on encouraging people to ask for help when they need it.

“Everyone needs help sometimes and if you need help ask for help. Talk to a friend or talk to a family member,” said Brenda Stacey, an event coordinator. “Call the crisis line, ask for help. Don’t try to handle it on your own. Sometimes depression and anxiety can cause people’s lives to become unmanageable.”

“I am just so excited to participate in this walk and to be part of this event,” said Ashley Jenema. “We got really lucky with a sunny day, a nice little breeze. Couldn’t ask for more,” Jenema added.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately one in every five adults in the United States experiences a form of mental illness every year. And one in every five teenagers experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life.