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Falls event supports help, healing for those dealing with mental illness

Community Missions and Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center will join forces next week to support a day of mental health recovery and understanding with an interfaith community prayer service.

The organizations will host the event at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at First Congregational United Church of Christ, 822 Cleveland Ave., Niagara Falls, as part of Mental Illness Awareness Week, a national event designed to raise public awareness about mental illness and break down the stigma that often discourages people from seeking help when needed.

Leaders from various faith traditions will join those with mental health challenges, as well as their families and community members to seek guidance and help in replacing misinformation, blame, fear and prejudice with truth, to offer hope to all who are touched by mental illness.

One in five adults experience mental illness problems every year and 50 percent of chronic mental illness begins by age 14. Although many people today understand that mental illness is a medical condition, individuals and families affected by mental illness are still often subjected to stigma and discrimination.

“There is a great deal of misunderstanding and fear about mental illness,” the Rev. Mark Breese, agency minister at Community Missions, said in a news release. “Many believe there is no hope for people with mental Illness. But there is hope and we need to give that hope to families, friends and neighbors who struggle with mental illness.”

“This interfaith gathering gives our entire community an opportunity to show support for neighbors, friends and family members who are often unfairly stigmatized and misunderstood because they suffer from depression, anxiety or other forms of mental illness,” said Memorial Medical Center President and CEO Joseph A. Ruffolo.

The service is open to the public, with light refreshments to follow. For more information, please contact Breese at 285-3403, Ext. 2259 or mbreese@communitymissions.org.

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