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Children's Annual Mental Health & Wellness Fair: Empowering Change and Impact

May 4, 2024

This morning, Festival Park in Fayetteville was filled with those looking to spread awareness about the importance of children's mental health and the need for services that support recovery, resilience and success.

In observance of Children's Mental Health Awareness Week (May 5-11), the Student Services department of Cumberland County Schools hosted the district's second annual It's OK 2 Ask: Children's Mental Health & Wellness Fair.

Attendees engaged with over 40 local vendors, accessing valuable community resource information, and indulged in culinary delights and gaming experiences from food and video trucks. Live fitness presentations were also featured, alongside an array of freebies for fairgoers. Furthermore, the event incorporated a one-mile walk around Downtown Fayetteville dedicated to suicide prevention. Jonathon Foster, owner of Evolution Fitness and Results and a vendor of the fair spoke about the importance of mental health. "It's good to be in shape and physically fit, but our mental health is very important, so let's take time out today to focus on our mental health," said Foster.

An attendee of the fair shared her thoughts on the event's purpose. "I feel like today's event is essential, especially for our children in the community," said Ayesha Neal. "We want to start talking about mental health with them now,  practicing exercises as they grow and normalizing mental health," continued Neal.

Dr. Natasha Scott, the executive director of CCS' Student Services, introduced the mental health and wellness fair to the district two years ago as 'a fresh way' to raise awareness about an issue vital to the lives of the students and their families. "This event really needed to be a fun event that would get people active and moving while sharing resources that people need. When you're active and being physical, it produces endorphins which are the chemicals in your brain that produces positive feelings," said Scott.

Given the overwhelming popularity of this year's event, organizers are already strategizing ways to enhance and elevate next year's mental health and wellness fair.

For more information, visit the Cumberland County Schools website. “It's OK 2 Ask” support is just a click away.

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