Reedley, Sierra Kings shine light on mental health

City of Reedley partners with Sierra Kings Health Care District to promote Mental Health Awareness Month

Wristbands from the Sierra Kings Health Care District promoting Mental Health Awareness Month. (Sierra Kings Health Care District)
Wristbands from the Sierra Kings Health Care District promoting Mental Health Awareness Month. (Sierra Kings Health Care District)
Darren Fraser
Published May 12, 2024  • 
9:00 am

REEDLEY – May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and to commemorate the occasion, Sierra Kings Health Care District is partnering with the city of Reedley to prioritize and improve the mental health of city employees through mindfulness activities.

This is the second year in a row the district has collaborated with Reedley to call attention to the importance of sound mental health.

“The world feels chaotic right now,” Reedley City Manager Nicole Zieba said in a May 8 press release from the district. “Mental Health Awareness Month is a great reminder to slow down and take purposeful action to care for ourselves and our emotional health.”

Zieba added, “At the city of Reedley, our employees are the heart of what we do for the community every day.”

For the Mental Health Awareness Month, city employees have the option to accept the “Find Your 30” challenge to commit to 30 minutes of exercise for five days a week for four weeks. Employees who choose a less aerobic route may enroll in stress reliever classes. These classes include a variety of stress management disciplines, including yoga, stress management classes, a “Dance for the Soul” night and a paint night.

Employees who participate in at least one of these activities are automatically entered into a raffle with over $10,000 in prizes, including three electric bikes (e-bikes).

District CEO Chinayera Black Hardaman said the collaboration makes it easier for people to get involved.

“People often say they don’t have time to take care of their own mental health,” Hardaman said in the press release. “This is why it is amazing that local organizations are stepping forward to help their employees. We are grateful for these partnerships and look forward to incorporating more local employees in these activities next year.”

Parlier Unified School District (PUSD) and Reedley Rotary are new to this year’s campaign. PUSD partnered with the district in creating mental health kits for PUSD employees. PUSD is also distributing over 500 Mental Health Awareness Month bracelets to students. Reedley Rotary is spreading the word to its members by handing out custom water bottles and messaging.

According to Mental Health American, one in five people in the U.S. live with a mental health condition. Applying this 20% rate to the combined population of Parlier and Reedley – about 40,000 – this means roughly 8,000 residents in the two cities suffer from a mental health condition.

Mental Health Awareness Month began in 1949. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), “Since its inception in 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month has been a cornerstone of addressing the challenges faced by millions of Americans living with mental health conditions. Throughout the month, NAMI actively participates in this national movement, dedicated to eradicating stigma, extending support, fostering public education and advocating for policies that prioritize the well-being of individuals and families affected by mental illness.”

Darren Fraser