Behavioral health services may be more important than ever during this time of a pandemic and national social upheaval. Michigan residents are at a greater risk of anxiety, depression and mental health challenges as a result of those events and the normal stress of life.

On Tuesday, Sept. 29, you have the chance to support behavioral health services through the Community Mental Health Association of Michigan (CMHAM) Virtual “Walk-a-Mile in My Shoes” rally. Held annually in Lansing since 2004, this year’s rally was moved to a virtual format to reach a wider audience while helping keep participants safe from COVID-19.

The event will feature speakers from every corner of the state, including Lapeer County, sharing personal statements about their experiences. The rally begins at noon and runs until 2 p.m.

CMHA CEO Robert Sheehan notes that the Walk-a-Mile in My Shoes Rally is an opportunity for camaraderie—even in this virtual format—during the pandemic as consumers and advocates continue to call on support from their legislators.

A report recently released by the Center for Health Integration and Innovation, the policy arm of CMHA, gives support to maintaining and increasing funding for mental health services. The report found Michigan’s public mental health system surpasses other states and systems, measured in terms of health care quality and innovation.

Hosted on the Community Mental Health Association’s Facebook page, the virtual rally will feature an opening ceremony at noon from Sheehan and statements from Michiganders who are part of the behavioral health care network across the state. Following the live event, participants are encouraged to upload photos as they walk around their neighborhood to CMHA’s Facebook Event page using the hashtag #WalkAMile.

To RSVP or learn more about the virtual rally, please visit www.facebook.com/CMHAMich.

—Lapeer County Community Mental Health