First Community Commitment Night Takes Place

By Quinn O’Hara

Last night, November 14th, the Clay Counts Coalition hosted the first Community Commitment Night.

In light of several recent suicides in our community, Renee Langvardt reached out to the Coalition and implored the group host a community minded event to talk about mental health. What resulted from Langvardt and the Coalition’s efforts was Community Night: a partnership with several local businesses and community members to host an event aimed at destigmatizing mental health and learning to address mental health issues.

The event began at The Rex Theater in downtown Clay Center with a free walking taco meal at the entrance. Reagann McDonald, a 17 year old Junior at Clay Center Community High School, gave a passionate welcome speech on mental health. By the end of her speech  nearly every seat in the theater had been filled.

Attendees then traveled around downtown to several local businesses to attend two breakout sessions. Sessions were held at the Happy Hippie, Tasty Pastry Bakery, Java Junkies, Justin Tadtman’s Farm Bureau, Grow Clay County, Mellies Mental Wellness, Verizon, and The Rex. Countless local professionals gave talks on various mental health topics ranging from medication to coping skills to fitness and nutrition.

After the two sessions concluded, everyone gathered back inside the theater. Once inside, several donated door prizes were randomly given away to attendees who filled out a short response survey which asked what they enjoyed and what could be improved on or added to a future event.

As people left the event I heard several positive conversations about what folks had learned or experienced.

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