Saturday May 25th, 2024 5:22PM

Gainesville businesses light themselves green in support of mental health awareness

By Lawson Smith Anchor/Reporter

Over 25 businesses on Green Street in Gainesville have taken up the “Hall Goes Green” challenge in support of mental health awareness.

The challenge is in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, as the United Way of Hall County’s One Hall Health committee, with special support from the National Alliance on Mental Illness Hall County, and the Ryan Joiner Foundation advocate for mental health support in the community.  

The Hall Goes Green project encourages residents in the area to show support and raise awareness for mental health by lighting their homes and businesses in green. Initiated in 2023, the project has grown  in its second year, striving  to show the solidarity of the community in support of all aspects of mental health.

“We know that many people face mental health issues, and that less than 50% of those seek help,” Dr. Monica Newton, One Hall Health committee chair, said in a press release. “Our goal is to raise awareness of the prevalence of mental health issues and to help our community understand everyone can play a role in helping our community be healthier.”

The idea to ask the community to “Go Green”  came from  One Hall Health committee member, Lauren Joiner Paul, a licensed master social worker, NAMI Hall steering committee chair and board president of the Ryan Joiner Foundation, who experienced a devastating personal loss when her brother died by suicide in June 2022.  Lauren found peace in running along Green Street, where she and her brother once trained for half-marathons. She was inspired during one of the runs  to ask the businesses along the street to light their buildings green as a visual advocacy for support. After businesses agreed to participate in the initiative, the Ryan Joiner Foundation committed to offer green lights to the businesses free of charge. 

 The project aims to help The United Way of Hall County grow the public’s understanding of mental health as a part of its larger commitment to providing mental health support. 

United Way offers year-round resources to help address mental health, including the opportunity to schedule a local expert at no cost  to speak  about mental health and wellness topics at your next community meeting or event.

Additionally, United Way also offers free training to the community to  help individuals feel better equipped to understand how to respond to someone experiencing a mental health crisis.

“Mental health is part of our overall health,” Dr. Newton said. “Improving your overall well-being requires focus on both your physical and mental health. We encourage everyone in our community to become involved this month in any way, big or small, to take action for themselves or someone they love. Together, we can make the Gainesville/Hall community a more understanding and healthier place to live and work.”

Those wishing to share their support for the Hall Goes Green project can do so on May 16th by wearing green clothing in observance of  Mental Health Action Day.

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News
  • Associated Tags: Gainesville , United Way of Hall County, Green Street, community, Mental Health Awareness
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