Twin Ports Focuses on Mental Health Awareness Following Chaotic Week

The month of May is now dedicated to Northland Healthy Minds.

TWIN PORTS-  Mayors from both sides of the bridge are working to break down the stigma that often surrounds mental health.

They’re calling it Northland Healthy Minds and they say this is even more timely given the recent traumatic events the Twin Ports have faced.

Just this past month Superior firefighters faced the suicide of their longtime battalion chief Eric Sutton. Mayor Paine believes openly talking about these events is crucial a part of the healing process for both first responders and the community.

“Of course it is important to raise awareness about mental health issues to show that there are people that are really hurting because of specific traumas of course with everything that’s happened in superior last week,” mayor Paine said.

From dealing with the death of a firefighter to leaving their homes behind, during what could have been a catastrophic explosion at the Husky Refinery. Mayor Paine believes these shocking events have left many residents uneasy. Now he’s focused on making sure their troubles won’t stay bottled up.

“A lot of people that maybe thought everything was going great suddenly found themselves faced with a considerable trauma,” mayor Paine said. “We have to recognize that and we have to find support for that.”

Reaching out to first responders and asking them to share their experience with someone is the first step in the mayor’s course of action. But mental health has been an issue in the northland long before last week. Over time local resources have grown, but friends and family often need to step up with help too. The woman behind the movement, personally struggled with mental illness. Now she’s getting the conversation going about mental health.

“It’s important to me that we recognize that when somebody feels that they can’t talk to you about what’s going on, that right there is the definition of stigma,” Northland Healthy Minds coordinator Shannon Sweeney Jorgenson said.

In Superior, around 100 green balloons represent the battle against mental illness. This month’s calendar is booked full of community strengthening activities, including a wear green day. An open house, and laughing yoga. For more information on mental health and services visit Northland Healthy Minds.

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