HHSA Newsroom

Minds Matter 2021: Reconnecting in a Pandemic World

Published May 27, 2021

Our world is beginning to open up. Opportunities to reconnect with family, friends and community are becoming more common. For volunteer-minded people, the Minds Matter Drive-Thru Mental Health Fair offered a long-awaited chance to give back to the community.

This year’s event had a simple, COVID-safe design. Masked, socially distanced volunteers holding signs greeted people with positive messages. Event-goers drove up to pick of a bag with mental health resources.

deniseHHSA Peer Support Specialist Denise Green said, “Working at the Minds Matter Fair, I learned how telling someone, ‘You Matter’ makes an impact. It felt good to give out the resource bags. I think it opened their minds to the multitude of resources available in our County.”

Thirteen local organizations donated more than 3,000 items. Volunteers packed them into 200 bags, and about 60 bags were handed out at the drive-thru. The plan is to distribute leftover bags throughout Shasta County.

“We expected this year’s event to be humble,” said Christopher Diamond, event signorganizer and HHSA’s Stand Against Stigma Coordinator. “We wanted to make mental health resources accessible. But it also allowed our volunteers a chance to give back to their community during the pandemic. Small, public events such as the Minds Matter Fair help people ease back in to being in social situations. Taking small steps toward living life as we remember it.”

For more than a decade, the Minds Matter Mental Health Fair has raised awareness about mental health, fight stigma and connect people with resources in Shasta County. In a non-pandemic year, the celebration hosts 40 exhibitors. About 300 people attend the fair each year and enjoy healing performances from Hope Is Alive! Open Mic artists and listen to true stories of recovery from Brave Faces speakers.

The hope is to return to the full Minds Matter experience in May 2022. To get involved in next year’s event, contact Christopher Diamond at cdiamond@co.shasta.ca.us or (530) 229-8484.


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