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Green ribbons raise awareness

Tyler Harrison
Staff Writer

The La Verne City Council has named the third week of March as “Green Ribbon Week” in hope of raising awareness about mental disorders.

At the city council meeting on Tuesday Mayor Don Kendrick, council members, and Tri-City Mental Health Services representatives Jessie Duff, the executive director, and Jaime Holes, the community capacity organizer, gave a presentation on mental health.

Tri-City Mental Health Services provides treatment for individuals in the La Verne, Pomona and Claremont area.

“Info from the mainstream media depicts them as crazy and violent,” Holes said. “Those are often just the most extreme and untreated cases.”

Holes said members of the community will wear lime green ribbons as it is the national color of mental health, and the vivid color represents their health improvements.

The purpose behind the eye-catching shade is to promote conversation about mental illness. Creating discussion is key because many who are diagnosed with a mental disorder suffer from a negative stigma.

During the presentation, a statistic was shared that one out of four people have a diagnosable mental health disorder. Only half of those diagnosed will seek help, often for fear of isolation and job security.

Kendrick shared that his nephew struggles with a mental illness, and is appreciative of his community for an event like Green Ribbon Week.

City Council member Donna Redman chairs the Youth and Family Action Committee that serves at risk youth. She partners with Tri-City Mental Health, and the company sends representatives to attend her committee meetings and offer counseling. She believes those living with a mental health disorder need to be helped rather than feared.

“In my involvement with the city, it’s been very eye opening to see the need for a program like this,” Redman said. “It makes me happy to help them and let them know they aren’t alone.”

Community members support the city’s efforts to bring attention to mental health.

“The general thoughts about mental health is that people have control over it which really isn’t true,” said Pomona resident Michelle Scribner. “People lack sympathy for people who suffer from it. So it’s really important to change the way people look at mental health.”

Community members, schools and businesses can participate in Green Ribbon Week in numerous ways, from wearing and passing out ribbons and fact sheets, sponsoring speakers, posting flyers and offering discounts to those wearing green.

Green Ribbon will take place March 17-21.

Tyler Harrison can be reached at tyler.harrison@laverne.edu.

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