Point Loma, California - Join the County and local affiliates of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), NAMI San Diego and NAMI North Coast, to raise awareness about mental illness and to reduce the stigma associated with it.

The organizations are bringing together their annual events Saturday, May 3 and renaming them the 2014 San Diego County NAMI Walk and Live Well San Diego Expo. The event, which commemorates May is Mental Health Month, will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at NTC Park in Liberty Station, 2455 Cushing Road, in Point Loma. The event is free and open to the public.

“We are joining our voices to raise awareness about the stigma associated with mental illness and send a more impactful message,” said Alfredo Aguirre, director of Behavioral Health Services for the County Health and Human Services Agency. “Emotional and behavioral challenges affect one in five children each year, and mental illness affects one in four adults. People should not be embarrassed to get help.”

The festival and resource fair will feature approximately 100 booths, an interactive mural project, an art exhibit, therapy dogs, face painting, an obstacle course and family entertainment, as well as a special a zone for veterans.  

“Events like these help to clear misconceptions and result in a better understanding of mental health disorders,” said Shannon Jaccard, chief executive officer of NAMI San Diego. “The fear of being rejected and the stigma associated with mental health disorders keep some adults from getting the help they need for themselves or their children.”

NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

People experiencing a mental illness can access services by calling the County’s 24-hour, multi-lingual Access and Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240. Resources are also available at NAMI San Diego or the It's Up to Us website.

The event supports Live Well San Diego, the County’s ongoing initiative to improve the health, safety and well-being of residents, by building strong community partnerships.

If you want to lace up your sneakers for another good cause, Live Well San Diego is sponsoring its first walk/fun run to create awareness about the County’s foster care and adoption programs. The Live Well San Diego 5K will be held May 31 at NTC Park at Liberty Station.