Lawton Mental Health Town Hall event to bring awareness to mental illness

Updated: Mar. 4, 2020 at 6:37 PM CST
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LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Thursday evening there will be an event for people dealing with mental stability to find the support they’ve been looking for.

Lawton City Councilwoman, Onreka Johnson, is the organizer for the first ever Lawton Mental Town Hall. She has been working to get this event together for a year.

“Tomorrow we’re having the Lawton Community Health Town Hall and we’re going to have resources as well as professionals in the mental health field to come together to provide an opportunity for participants to know what’s in our community and where the resources are, and we want to really identify some of the needs and identify what the gaps are," said Johnson.

Johnson said she has dealt with mental health issues all of her life, so she knows how important it is to have help.

“Its very important, because sometimes we don’t know where to go to get the resources or to get the help. Sometimes we’re ashamed to get help because there’s a stigma, but just come as a participant. It’s not you sharing what you’re going through, but you can see who those resources are in the community," said Johnson.

Sasha Shelton is a mentor of Onreka Johnson. She will speak at the event on a personal level due to prior mental health issues.

“I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety, but mostly social anxiety, since I was about 15," said Shelton.

Shelton wants to make sure people suffering from mental health are not shying away from it.

“It is okay to ask for help. A lot of people are afraid to take that first step, that first punch to say, ‘I’m dealing with this and I need help,’" said Shelton.

On Thursday they will find it all in one place.

“Agencies will be represented, such as the Lawton Community Health Center, the Department of Mental Health, Our House Counseling, Cameron University, just a plethora of people who will be there," said Johnson.

The Town Hall meeting will be Thursday evening from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Cameron University in the Johnson Auditorium at Cynthia Ross Hall.

State lawmakers and Lawton’s police chief are also set to take part.

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