Event aims to end stigmas around mental health

Published: Jul. 14, 2018 at 7:11 PM EDT
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Most people probably don't think basketball and coloring can help with mental health, but one local event is hoping to use those types of activities to tackle some stigmas surrounding mental health.

Families gathered at the Stanley White Recreation Center in New Bern for Let's Cope, an event aimed at addressing mental health for children in black communities.

Children tried yoga, grooved with some Zumba and even made thinking putty at Saturday's event.

All that fun was to combat a serious problem. About 20 percent more African Americans are diagnosed with serious mental illness than any other race, event organizer Javonte Bass said.

Bass is a New Bern native and child therapist. Many times African Americans are less likely to get treatment due to a lack of resources, Bass said.

"So when I bring in the coping skills this says hey, lets create this sensory bottle you know. It just teaches them they can have fun and still have something that can help them at the same time," Bass said.

Bass said the first step to having good mental health is to always put your health first, and to always reach out when you need help.

Organizers plan to hold other mental health events in the future, with the next one catering to adults.