Charlotte, NC- Mecklenburg County department, MeckLINK Behavioral Healthcare, announces their participation in an international awareness campaign that seeks to end the stigma of depression by asking supporters to “Pledge to Plant” a virtual sunflower in honor of the 350 million people living with the disease. Field for Hope was created by the International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression (iFred) and is the largest-scale, global effort in history focused on raising awareness for depression research and education. According to the World Health Organization, depression is now the leading cause of disability worldwide.
The Board of County Commissioners and The County Managers have been invited, along with MeckLINK employees, local advocacy organizations, businesses and the community, to plant sunflower seeds on Friday morning, May 31 from 9:00 a.m. – Noon.
The kickoff event takes place at the Little Sugar Creek Greenway Community Garden, located at 1321 N. Alexander Street. This educational garden is supported by Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation Department and Friendship Gardens. In September, the sunflowers will be harvested and donated to Go-Go Fresco, a mobile, sustainable, mission-focused farmers market.
“At MeckLINK, one of our main goals is to educate the public about mental illness and depression. The first step in education is an understanding that these brain diseases are treatable. No one should be ashamed to communicate about medical issues for fear of criticism or job loss. By planting sunflowers, our community can create a united front lead by the statuesque sunflower and the color yellow as symbols of strength and mental wellness,” said Melissa Marshburn, Communications Specialist at MeckLINK.
The sunflower seeds were donated by Nancy Newton of Newell Farmers Market and Cissy Shull with Charlotte Green. They, along with Katherine Metzo, the Friendship Garden’s Development Director, were thrilled to be included in the project.
“As avid gardeners, we strive to educate the community on the importance of eating healthy, nutritious fruits and vegetables, and enjoying the outdoors, Katherine said...”These are key ingredients to mental wellness and a healthy body and brain.”
Pure Pizza, located in the 7th Street Public Market, is supplying healthy breakfast pizzas for the volunteers. Charlotte-based social impact consulting group Sandra Marshall & Associates is working with iFred on this international campaign. Those interested in volunteering can contact Melissa Marshburn by calling 704-353-1501 or email at Melissa.Marshburn@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov
For further information about MeckLINK Behavioral Healthcare, visit www.Charmeck.MeckLINK.org
or follow at facebook.com/MeckLINK-Behavioral-Healthcare or twitter.com/MeckLINKBH . For more information about iFred and Field for Hope, visit iFred.org or follow at Facebook.com/FieldforHope or Twitter.com/iFredorg.
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