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Vibrant Visions mental health awareness event upcoming

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

May is Mental Health Awareness month, and the Core Four Partnership — a partnership between the city of San Marcos, Hays County, San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District and Texas State University — is hosting an event to support the cause. Vibrant Visions will occur from 6 to 8 p.m. on May 9 at the Village of San Marcos, 215 South Reimer Ave. The event will include a mental health careers panel, an art exhibit for youth and young adults, food, drinks and giveaways.

“The event is a community event to bring education, awareness and resources related to youth and young adults about mental health,” said Cristal Lopez, Core Four Partnership at Community Action Inc. of Central Texas youth services director. “[The event will also have] on site STD/STI testing at our clinic, which is newly located at the village, and we will also provide vaccines provided by the Hays County [Local] Health Department, and onsite services from Project AIM where they do case management for young adults 18 and older.”

Hays County Local Health Department Behavioral Health Coordinator Peyton Siler said there was a Mental Health Needs Assessment in 2020 that was conducted and “it showed that about 23% of adults and about 38% of youth in Hays County were estimated to have some form of a mental health need.” She said it’s reasonable to assume the figures have since increased.

Lopez said that the Core Four Partnership developed and distributed a youth survey to collect local data on mental health, sense of belonging and college and career, and the results were shared at community meetings that occurred on April 23 and 26. All with the aim of introducing awareness and educating the public.

“There’s a lot of work already happening in the local community, but with these collaborations it’s really getting everyone to the table,” Lopez said. “Through the Core Four Partnership, we facilitate the San Marcos Texas Mental Health Coalition, and that has a focus on youth and young people’s mental health. We are also a part of Healthy Hays and actively involved in their initiatives and making sure that we’re removing those barriers in terms of sharing data supporting each other with events. The main priority for the Mental Health Coalition as of today … is really providing mental health awareness and education in our community.”

Siler said there’s been “commendable unity” among service providers, officials and residents to exchange resources and address some solutions to gaps within the behavioral care system.

“My role is new as Behavioral Health Coordinator … but I’m here to support and help implement these collective efforts,” Siler said. “I’m very optimistic about all of the conversations and movements that are happening within the county. I think it’s going to result in more mental health programming and purposeful partnerships that will ultimately enhance community well-being.”

One of these programs was the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, which occurred on April 29.

“This training teaches us how to recognize and respond to signs of mental health and substance use challenges in adults and then also facilitate connections to appropriate treatment and support services after,” Siler said. “Our hopes are that equipping the community to have a foundational knowledge about mental health, it becomes less stigmatized, more resources become available and our community knows how to better support those with mental health needs. The Hill Country Mental Health First AID training team put on this training, and in 2023 they trained 326 individuals through the Core Four Partnership. It’s at no cost to the community.”

Lopez said the Core Four Partnership is ensuring that all in the community can be involved.

“We really try to be mindful in terms of removing barriers in terms of accessing the training,” Lopez said. “That includes the financial responsibility of the cost associated with participating.”

Lopez said the Core Four Partnership is aware of the need for mental health services and is actively trying to make these services accessible to everyone.

“We know there’s a need for mental health services, even programs or events to have these conversations, and it takes time to get the community on board to really normalize [mental health issues],” Lopez said. “Mental health is something that, unfortunately, is very stigmatized. We’re hoping through our efforts and really bringing it to the forefront — getting communities involved, nonprofits, practitioners, but also our policy makers — that we are all on the same time trying to make positive change in the community in terms of mental health.”

To be involved in the Vibrant Visions art exhibit, Lopez said the artist must be in middle school, high school or young adults from 19 to 24 years old. There are six categories.

“They can submit one piece of art in the medium of their choosing, whether that be a painting, a sculpture, as long as it meets those guidelines,” Lopez said. “They will also be highlighted at the local library. It will be on display for Mental Health Awareness Month, which is the month of May.”

To submit art and learn more about Vibrant Visions go to com/view/vibrantvisionssmtx/ home.

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666