Mental Health Pop-up Gym kicks off Mental Health Matters initiative

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)— The Mental Health Matters initiative is kicking off Saturday with a Mental Health Pop-up Gym. Organizers say the pop-ups are a way to introduce mental health to disadvantaged areas.

Nancy Cleveland is the executive director and founder of Macon Head Space. She says the Mental Health Pop-up Gym happening Saturday at Filmore Thomas Park is meant to promote free mental health services coming to recreation centers. The event starts at 8 a.m. and goes on until 4 p.m. It will include chances to interview therapists, yoga, meditation, poetry, and more.

“Macon Head Space is here to help you in whatever way you see fit. Whether it be therapy, aromatherapy, yoga, meditation, drumming, even just sitting in silence. I’m not sure what it is but we’re here to teach you techniques so you can take it home and create your own formula,” Cleveland said.

Cleveland says she lived in the foster care system from 2 months old until she was three years old. Her mom struggled with drug and alcohol addiction. When Cleveland moved back to Macon, she was able to get adult legal guardianship of her mom. Cleveland says that has helped keep her mother clean for three years. By creating Macon Head Space, she hopes to help people like her mom.

“I’m hoping programs like this will give me healing and move me from being a victim to an advocate,” Cleveland said. ” Also just to make it easier for people who are going through something to find the resources they need.”

CEO and therapist at the Southern Center for Choice Theory, Gloria Cisse’ says it’s important to bring free mental health services into neighborhoods that don’t have access to them. She says community violence, poverty, and discrimination all contribute to mental illness.

“Having people who are in neighborhoods, where they may not have access to resources [or] have access to these kinds of activities, really increases the likelihood they will accept them and participate in them,” Cisse’ said.

Macon Mental Health Matters will target seven areas that have higher crime, lower-income, and lower insured adults.

The program will include various opportunities to get help, including parenting classes and therapy. Cisse’ says access to free services like that is needed.

“We’ll be running those services. The plan is for at least the next year and hopefully beyond,” Cisse’ said. “So people will have access to no cost, truly no cost mental health services.”

There will be more Mental Health Pop-up Gyms in the future, as well as, access to free services at local community centers. To register for the event this Saturday, you can go to the Macon Mental Health Matters website.

Categories: Bibb County, Featured, Health, Health & Fitness, Local News

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