SAN ANGELO, Texas — Saturday was World Mental Health Day and the San Angelo Clubhouse held a Smash the Stigma Mental Health Rally to bring awareness to mental health illness.
According to the San Angelo Clubhouse Director, Ami Mizell-Flint, the purpose of the rally is to bring awareness to people living with mental health illness and the stigma that come with the diagnosis.
Members made signs about their self-worth or mental illness with messages such as "YOU ARE LOVED" or "YOU ARE NOT ALONE". The members carried the signs during a brief walk and then took turns breaking coffee cups.
Mizzell-Flint said, "They will be writing all the different stigmas on the coffee cops and we will be smashing the coffee cups with their stigma written on them."
The coffee cups represented the stigma associated with mental illness. The broken pieces will be spray painted and be used to build a big mosaic of the organization's logo. "To show that all together we can, even though we all live with different demons, we can all come together for something beautiful," said Mizell-Flint.
Orlando Soto who suffers from depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder attended the event. He said, "A lot of people have too much pride in themselves to actually say 'hey I have a mental problem'. "
He also said many people may not realize they have a mental illness and that it's a hidden disease. "We’re here to smash the stigma, to let people know that everything’s ok, that everything will be alright," he added.
Brent Armer attended the event and said that smashing the stigma meant getting rid of frustrations and letting go of old habits.
He said the organization welcomed him when he first arrived and helped him find a job. "I hope people notice that we are here, and we are here to help them," he added.
The organization had planned to hold the 4 Mind 4 Body 0.5K run/walk Saturday, Oct. 10 after canceling it in May, however, because of COVID-19 concerns they decided to change the event to a rally. The run/walk will return in May 2021 and will be the second annual event.
Mizell-Flint said the Smash the Stigma Mental Health Rally is the first of its kind and hopes to make it an annual event on World Mental Health Day.