Carson City Mental Health Fair Highlights Resources

Northern Nevada Dream Center Executive Director Susan Sorenson, right, and Director of Programs and Volunteers Bethany Herzing brief a student May 25, 2022 at a Carson City community mental health fair.

Northern Nevada Dream Center Executive Director Susan Sorenson, right, and Director of Programs and Volunteers Bethany Herzing brief a student May 25, 2022 at a Carson City community mental health fair.
Photo by Jessica Garcia.



Students and families seeking local resources in observance of National Mental Health Awareness Month on Wednesday had the opportunity to meet with officials and volunteers representing local agencies at the Carson City Community Center to learn how to get help or access enrichment tools.
Carson City School District Coordinator Michelle Cleveland, an assigned licensed professional who oversees school social workers, said the event was the first Community Resource Fair aimed at helping families and children with their needs. .
“Our goal is to connect the community with resources, especially our families before the kids go home for the summer,” Cleveland said. “So this event is something new for all of us to bring all of our community partners together under one roof so that our families really get a sense of what is available.”
The fair offered access to agencies such as Carson Tahoe Behavioral Health Services, Capital City CIRCLES Initiative, Grounded Roots Therapy, Serenity Mental Health and Together Carson City 4H Youth Programming and more.
Kaitlyn Griffiths, a school social worker representing Mark Twain Elementary School, was manning the table for the National Alliance on Mental Illness and helping distribute the organization’s information. Griffiths said the year so far has been positive but challenging for Mark Twain students.
“It’s been a lot of struggles with COVID,” he said. “Everyone feels like it’s whiplash; at first we are told this, then we are told this. It is still a work in progress. We hope that next year feels like a normal year.”
But Griffiths said the community generally has misconceptions about mental health issues in general. She said that she was in favor of holding the fair for interested families to ask questions of local organizations or school staff members.
“There’s a lot of stigma and little education about it, and I think we wanted to be a big advocate because I think a lot of families don’t know what to do when they’re dealing with mental health issues with their student or themselves,” Griffiths said.
Northern Nevada Dream Center Executive Director Susan Sorenson was running a table with Director of Programs and Volunteers Bethany Herzing, who provided materials for everyone who visited her booth. NNDC helps meet the basic needs of the homeless by providing emergency food boxes, clothing, toiletries, educational services and children’s services and provides job training for using the internet, smartphones and extended classes, Sorensen said.
“We know the stress that parents have been under, and it has been very important to support them,” he said. “With the last three years of doing our Back to School Bash, parents and students have been in our hearts. … We always follow the need.”
Sorensen said that while the Dream Center has been in Carson City for the past 12 years, it has experienced what she calls the “fallout from COVID” with its work doubling since 2020.
“COVID changed everything,” he said. “We never close our doors and continue to serve. … We love our city. Carson City is a great community.”

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