Extra support for mental health in Watonwan County

Sarah Bunich
St. James Plaindealer

St. James, and Madelia at their recent city council meetings have declared September to be suicide prevention month. Proposals for the recognition came from the county wanting to talk more and do more for mental health and suicide prevention within the county, for this month and on.

To help do that the county is hosting a new event at Butterfield, St. James, and Madelia schools. Care Fairs will be hosted at each school, starting with Butterfield-Odin's on the 15, then St. James' followed by Madelia's the following weeks. They will be two hours long going from 5 to 7 p.m.

"These events will have music, food trucks, samples, handouts around mental health, activities for kids, and more," said Kaley Hernandez. "We are hoping this will be an annual event to decrease the stigma around mental health and increase the awareness of local support for mental health and suicide prevention."

Along with the Care Fairs all Watonwan County schools will have calming corner kits in the elementary schools to help teach younger students how to handle their emotions and have a safe place to do so. Hernandez said they will have coloring, fidgeting tools, molding, and other busy activities to do while identifying their feelings.

School staff members are also having an increase of education about suicide prevention and mental health in the coming year.