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10th annual Mental Health Awareness Walk set May 21

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WATERTOWN — Anyone can have a mental illness.

That is the message that agencies supporting the upcoming 10th annual Mental Health Awareness Walk want to bring to the public.

“People with mental illness are some of our most brilliant people in history,” said Brenda S. Campany, part-time executive director of the Northern Regional Center for Independent Living, a sponsor of the walk. “Albert Einstein was said to suffer from depression.”

A mental illness is “a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning,” according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Mrs. Campany said the public is invited to attend the walk, which begins at 9:30 a.m. May 21 with a kickoff ceremony at the Dulles State Office Building, 317 Washington St. William W. Bowman, executive director of the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Council of Jefferson County, will be the guest speaker.

The walk to the Children’s Home of Jefferson County, 1704 State St., begins at 10:15 a.m. Round-trip transportation will be provided along the walk route. Lunch will be served at 11:45 a.m. by chef Chris Manning, and entertainment will be provided by Richard Gladle and the One Night Stand band.

Responses are requested by May 14 so organizers can prepare enough food for attendees.

People taking part in the walk may learn to downplay the stigma of mental illness, Mrs. Campany said. Some may fear those with mental illness due to a lack of understanding, she said.

For more information or to request accommodations, call 785-8703.

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