Mental Illness Awareness Event Held At Gratwick Riverside Park

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By: Brendan McDonough

Reporter for North Tonawanda

On Saturday September 15th, more than two dozen people gathered at Gratwick Riverside Park, filling the sky with kites of all shapes, colors and sizes, for the fourth annual ‘Kite Festival’ to raise awareness for mental illness.

The event was held by the Mental Health Peer Connection, an advocacy organization dedicated to facilitating self-directed growth.

The event was free.

Organizers said the goal is to educate people that those with mental illness are not a danger to others and try to remove any shame associated with it.

“There is so much negativity about people with mental illness,” said Maura Kelly, Event Organizer. “And that just couldn’t be further from the truth. 97% of people with mental illness are not violent or a detriment to society. … It’s nothing to be ashamed of and that’s what we are here to show people.”

“One in five people have mental illness,” said Kelly, “so it effects every community.”

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