Pinecrest’s Mental Health Awareness Event: “Illuminate”

May 17, 2019

What started as an idea to tie green ribbon around stop lights in Pinecrest, grew into an event called Illuminate.  Senior Hailey Gorman took the month of Mental Health Awareness into her own hands creating an event for Saturday, May 18.

“It all started at a Psi Alpha meeting when we were talking about what we could do to raise awareness for mental health issues, and Hailey came to me the day after with this idea and I thought it sounded fantastic,” Psi Alpha sponsor and AP Psychology teacher Gwendolyn Schoolar said.

This Saturday from 12pm to 4pm, Pinecrest Gardens will hold the first ever mental health awareness event.

“After I dealt with my own battle with mental illness, I realized all of the different components that go into getting better and I wanted to have all of those components in this event because I know it doesn’t come the same way for everybody,” Gorman said.

The event will consist of several booths, including one run by Palmetto’s Psi Alpha and Interact Club. In addition, at 1pm attendees will participate in a yoga class led by Joyce Sanders, an anxiety workshop at 2 pm and listen to a speaker on mental health.

“I wanted this to cater to everyone’s way of getting better,” Gorman said.

Inspired by the annual Relay For Life event for American Cancer Society, Gorman created an event tailored to issues typically avoided from conversation.

“Before I knew it, she had contacted Pinecrest Gardens and set everything up and really we are all just following her lead,” Schoolar said.

The event also includes a booth from the newly created Miami Dade County Public School’s Department of Mental Health services.

“It’s just a way to introduce yourself to not only mental health issues but to services in our communities,” Schoolar said. “A lot of people don’t know where to go if they need help.”

The event is meant to bring light to the dark sides of life, correlating with the name: Illuminate.

“I wanted this to be about not only illuminating that abyss that people find themselves in, but illuminating people on how they look at mental illnesses as a whole,” Gorman said. “People don’t realize that this is a huge part of some people’s lives and I want people to open their eyes to that, this is not an issue that some people suffer from, this is an issue that probably a multiple amount of your friends suffer from.”

Even if one does not personally struggle with a mental illness, this event welcomes all.

“Even if you come to this for five minutes, pick up a pamphlet,” Gorman said. “I think it’ll be more helpful than allowing yourself to be in the dark.”

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