May 20, 2019 – Loma Linda University Behavioral Medicine Center hosted its third annual “Stand Up to Stigma” 5K on Sunday, aimed to increase awareness of the behavioral health treatment available for the local community.
The May 19 race brought together people of all ages to show their support for those dealing with mental health issues. The event drew more than 714 registrants, making it the largest year for the event.
Hundreds of community members, students, staff and mental health supporters lined up at the starting line — sending a message of hope and healing to the communities of the Inland Empire.
“Around the country, organizations like ours strive to raise awareness for and educate the public about mental illness and, in doing so, reduce and eliminate stigmas and other misconceptions about mental health,” said Edward Field, MBA, vice president and administrator of the Behavioral Medicine Center. “Thank you for joining us in our effort to engage our friends and neighbors and end the stigma around mental health.”
For the past 28 years, the Behavioral Medicine Center has supported and healed those suffering from mental health and substance use issues by compassionately treating the whole person and not only their illness. The center’s services and programs cover issues such as addictions, anxiety, eating disorders and depression, ranging from children to senior adults.
The event featured a surprise check presentation from Wingstop – Redlands owner, George Sapp. Sapp said he is excited for the opportunity to support other businesses in the community — especially those businesses changing lives. “I am pleased to announce that one way we plan to stomp the stigma surrounding mental health — and at the same time collaborate with the BMC — is by pledging our support with a donation of $35,000,” he said.
The funds raised during the event will support the construction of a multipurpose outdoor therapeutic space for the youth and adult patients served at the BMC, a part of the Vision 2020 – The Campaign for a Whole Tomorrow.
May is national mental health month, a time when events like the 5K help spread the word that mental health is something everyone should be able to discuss openly. One in five adults and children experience a mental illness at some point in their lifetime. More than 16 million American adults live with major depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
For information about the range of services available at the Behavioral Medicine Center, go to llubmc.org.