On Tuesday, October 4th, all roads led to Alameda County’s annual Mental Health Day of Prayer, an event paying special tribute to Oakland’s mental health consumers and supporters. The occasion took place downtown at the County Administration Building Courtyard from 7:30 to 9:00 am with refreshments and live entertainment for all to enjoy.
“It was a wonderful day of prayer for people to share their stories of hope and inspiration,” said Alan Morris, a mental health consumer and advocate.
As with previous years, the focus was to create a safe space for people to uplift individuals with mental health challenges through prayers and positive thoughts. PEERS tabled the event, offering insight on the resources and programs available, and several speakers shared heartfelt stories that detailed their lived experience, as well as the role of mindfulness and spirituality in their day-to-day journey to recovery.
“What a blessing that the Great Healer now uses my painful story to encourage others!,” said one speaker.
One of the most impactful takeaways involved passersby writing empowering messages on the colorful cranes adorning the courtyard’s central sculpture. The gesture encouraged everyone to be part of a national dialogue in their own way.
“I thought this was a really good thing. Something you don’t see anyone else doing, something that needs to be done,” said Oakland resident, Curtis Perrott. “The written prayers added a nice little touch and I think it was organized very nicely.”
Regardless of the role each person played in shaping the event’s success, it’s safe to say the morning offered every attendee the chance to stand together in favor of eliminating mental health stigma.