‘Everything is connected’: Mental health awareness day to be held in Norfolk on Saturday to support young people

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Neighborhood violence, anxiety, depression, school failure: it’s all connected, according to the Concerned Citizen Association-Tidewater Connection.

On Saturday, the organization is holding a mental health awareness day in the Diggs Town area of ​​Norfolk, where they say children who need help are not getting enough.

At 15 Kristopher Edmonds was shot and killed over the summer in Diggs Town, the community has come together to mourn. It was at a vigil for Edmonds when a child’s words prompted Barrett Hicks to seek help.

“’I saw my friend bleed. He actually told me that. [He] could not have been more than 8 or 9 years old. I have a grandson [who’s] 10 and it just touched my heart, ”Hicks told WAVY.

Hicks said he contacted the Norfolk Community Services Board looking for grief counselors. When that didn’t work, he took to social media with his advocacy.

“And they’re coming, they’re coming, they’re coming,” he said.

About ten mental health professionals will be in the field from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 23.

“We definitely think the mental health issue is part of this violence,” Hicks told us.

It is also linked, he believes, to the academic difficulties that many of these children have.

“I’m a boy from Berkeley, born and raised in the community of Berkeley, so I know that community too. And I know the extra adult voice is what has helped me get out of this community, ”Hicks said.

They will begin Saturday at 11:30 am with the “It’s All Connected Community Walk”. It will pass through the Southside STEM Academy, the Community Center, the Boys and Girls Club, and more. During the walk they will show where resources are available: places where children can learn new skills and reveal bottled emotions that might otherwise lead to anxiety and depression, more violence and more. of watches.

Hicks said the event is open to everyone.

“We have to make a change, and that change starts with us,” he said.

10 On Your Side contacted the Norfolk Community Services Board about the community counseling request in July. A spokesperson told us that they will be at the event tomorrow and intervene for people in crisis, but regarding the community response, they recommended that the group work with the authority of redevelopment and housing and public schools.

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