Dubuque's Project Concern hosting mental health fair May 13 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque's Project Concern hosting mental health fair May 13

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Changing Minds free mental health resource fair Changing Minds free mental health resource fair

In honor of National Mental Health Month, Project Concern in Dubuque is hosting a free mental health resource fair on Tuesday.

The fair, called Changing Minds, will be from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the Grand River Center in the Port of Dubuque. It's free and open to the public.

People attending the event will be able to visit booths of the more than 20 mental health providers that will be at the fair. Free mental health screenings will be available, as well as the opportunity to hear recovery stories, share empowering inspiration and win prizes.

Area mental health experts will be speaking from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Panelists will discuss mental health basics, mental health effects on the community, mental illness symptoms and warning signs, causes of mental illness, treatment options and more.

Former KWWL anchor Bobbi Earles will be moderating the panel.

A community dialogue session will take place from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. and will include small group discussions.

Project Concern is also forming a Mental Health Advisory Council, which will function in a manner similar to Dubuque’s Homeless Advisory Council. The newly-formed Mental Health Advisory Council will use input from the fair's community dialogue session to better understand and address community needs.

People are encouraged to share their own stories of hope or how they support people with mental illness. Those stories can be e-mailed to shelterpluscare@project-concern.org no later than 8 a.m. on Monday, May 12.

Those stories will be posted on the Recovery Wall at the event. Project Concern asks people to keep their stories to 100 words or fewer. People may also include a photo.

"When a person has 'good' mental health, they deal better with what comes their way," Project Concern's executive director Stacy Martin said in a press release. "By contrast, 'poor' mental health -- such as feeling overwhelmed by stress -- can make day-to-day life difficult."

Project Concern works with more than 7,000 clients every year, many of whom are in need of mental health services.

"Unfortunately, many clients are ashamed or embarrassed if they have poor mental health," Martin said. "The goal of Changing Minds is to provide access to mental health information and increase community awareness so that residents no longer have to suffer in silence."

According to Project Concern's press release, the National Institute of Mental Health says an estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older -- or about one in four adults -- suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. With such prevalence, community awareness and understanding is critical.

For more information on the Changing Minds mental health resource fair, contact Trisha Federspiel at Project Concern at 563-588-3980 or shelterpluscare@project-concern.org

People can also visit www.project-concern.org or www.facebook.com/pcdbq.

Project Concern is accepting donations in support of Changing Minds and Project Concern’s 2-1-1 Information and Referral program at Project Concern, 1789 Elm Street, Dubuque, IA 52001.

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