First Lutheran Church to Host New Community Mental Health Resource Fair – Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD – Help is there for those with mental health and mental illness issues.

The First Lutheran Church will host the first Community Mental Health Resource Fair from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 29 at 424 S. Eighth St. in downtown Brainerd.

“It will be a great opportunity for people to come out for free and learn more about these programs, locally,” said Karen Johnson, community health specialist for Crow Wing Energized, which is sponsoring the event.

Participants can attend up to three of the following presentations: negative childhood experiences, changing the narrative about mental health and suicide, acknowledging the deadly means used for suicide, Make It OK community campaign to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness, resilience, suicide prevention and more.

“This is the first time we’ve hosted this event,” Johnson said. “The overall goal is to offer these programs on a regular basis in our community.”

A light meal will be served and registration is required to attend, which can be done online at


“We really wanted to reach out to people and find out what their needs are that we may not be aware of, so that’s kind of what spurred this idea,” Johnson said.

When Essentia Health conducted its community health needs assessment this spring, one area identified was community mental wellness, Johnson said.

“When people were asked to rate the number of days they experienced ‘good mental health’, it was noted that people experienced fewer days of ‘good’ mental health during the month compared to investigation conducted in 2018,” Johnson wrote in a previous column. for the

Brainerd Expedition


The goal of the Community Mental Health Resource Fair is to reach those closest to the problem, but furthest from the decision-making.

“You will also have the opportunity to attend breakout sessions to share your perspective on the next step of this project: developing a community resilience plan,” Johnson said.

The hope of the event is not just to help people, but to find people who seek to help others.

“We also really want to train new people, because all of these programs are usually run by volunteers. … We really need more ambassadors to do this, so we can reach more people,” Johnson said. “I hope they want to take us back to the places where they work, where they pray…so that we can also go out into the community and do presentations.”

Over 70 people registered online as of Wednesday, October 26.

“Something that’s come out of COVID is understanding that our mental health matters,” Johnson said. “We were isolated. A lot of us had to move to a virtual world, and I think we learned how important it is to talk about your mental health.”

For more information on the Community Mental Health Resource Fair, visit


FRANK LEE can be reached at 218-855-5863 or

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