Mental Health Awareness Community Event benefits Triana

TRIANA – Sometimes a person must step up and do what’s right to alleviate a situation. Alfreda Ragland is one of those people.

Ragland organized the first annual Mental Health Awareness Community Event in Triana on Sept. 16. The event was open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Flamingo Park in Triana.

Ragland’s inspiration to help the well-being of others started when her daughter, now 14 years old, was bullied by peers. Ragland reversed the message by authoring four self-published books with 12 more ready to release.

“Mental health is personal to me. I wanted to do something to spread love, hope, awareness and resources,” Ragland said. Open-minded, Ragland believes people should respect others, even bullies, who may be dealing with their own problems.

At the Mental Health Awareness Community Event, “we thought the rain would cause us to cancel, but God held the rain off. So many people played a part in making this event a success,” Ragland said.

To encourage event sponsors and donations, she talked with local small businesses and organizations, who quickly donated funds or services to help.

“My sponsors allowed us to have this event: Beeches Underground Grocery and Lounge, Jump to It, Cheesey’s Customs LLC, AAA Lawncare Service, Lit Scents, Springtime Cleaning Services LLC, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Tunesha Echols-McClain, Women of Steel/USW 214M, Moses Chapel Primitive Baptist Church, Monique Tolbert-Harper, Superior Realty Group and Town of Triana,” Ragland said.

Special guests were Semaj Holden with Complete Counseling; Jasmine Hall and Rachel Sullivan from Solid Ground Counseling Center in Madison; and media sponsor Mark White with “The Mark White Show.”

“So many people helped make this event happen. We enjoyed a day of dancing, games, food, speakers and fellowship,” Ragland said. “My hope for the event was that someone who might be dealing with a mental disorder will know that they are not alone — help is out there.”

“It’s OK to not be OK. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Mental illness can affect anyone,” Ragland said. “Due to so much positive feedback about the event and speakers, I have decided to make this an annual event.”

In other activities, Ragland will have a booth at Madison Street Festival on Oct. 7. She will present her publications and promote her new book, “No Bullying.”

For more information, email authoralfredaragland@gmail.com or visit alfredaragland.com.

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