Community unites to raise awareness of mental health in East Longmeadow


EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – October 10 is World Mental Health Day and on Sunday, one western Massachusetts community came together for a running festival to raise awareness.

4-RUN-3 partnered with the Mental Health Association for a running festival in East Longmeadow to raise awareness about substance use and mental health, especially during the pandemic.

“People lost those very important opportunities to feel connected. We really want to encourage folks to start talking and don’t stop talking about how you are feeling emotionally,” Kimberley Lee from the Mental Health Association said.

According to MHA, last year, 87 percent of young adults with substance-use disorders went untreated.

“Our mental health is just as important as our physical health,” Lee said.

And millions of Americans with a substance use disorder also have a co-occurring mental health condition. Some participants said they hope this event will create a sense of community for those struggling.

Tim Murphy from 4-RUN-3 told 22News, “I think it’s that connection right? Being able to get out of the house, and come to meet their running group. It’s just that small bit during the day, I think they feel connected.”

Others said that they hope this will spark more dialogue surrounding mental health.

“It’s really nice that there’s support out there and it affects more people than you think. I am glad that it’s starting to get out there and the stigma is getting away from it,” Justine Gelzinis said.

Proceeds from the event will go directly towards the MHA’s specialized mental health programs and provide local support that helps people begin the hard work of living in recovery.

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