NEW LEXINGTON — An event was held on Friday, June 28, at the Perry Behavioral Health Choices Activity Center in New Lexington to bring attention to mental health and wellbeing.

The event was hosted by the mental health awareness group Rally 4 Recovery which aims to spread the word and de-stigmatize mental illness.

Rally 4 Recovery is an organization that means to bring awareness to mental health and recovery from any mental disorders. The event held on June 28 was a free event for all in attendance. There was also a fundraising aspect to the event where all the proceeds went straight to the organization and its efforts to help those in recovery. The event raised a little over $200 in total through donations and fundraising.

The organization was started two years ago by Chris Tigner who had personally gone through his own recovery in his past. Tigner suffered from mental health issues when he decided to take matters into his own hands and start helping people who may be going through their own levels of mental recovery. The event was also a place for people to meet and share their experiences in recovery. Approximately over 120 people were present at the event.

“Everyone is there for each other,” Tigner stated. “I make it a point, that I tell them, this is all for them.”

The event hosted by Rally 4 Recovery started at 5 p.m. and ended around 10 p.m. on Friday. There was a Chinese auction that helped fundraise for future events. Tigner also sold wristbands and other small merchandise that advertised his organization. Some of the prizes given away from the Chinese auction included a donated canvas painting, R4R car decals, t-shirts from local businesses in the area, a McDonalds gift basket and a gift certificate from Little Italy Pizza in New Straitsville.

“We raised some good funds in the name of recovery,” Tigner said. “The funds raised will go towards the benefit that we will have later on in the year.”

Along with the fundraising, live music was also played by “Bender of Fenders” Ethan Timm who is also the lead singer for the band Crimson Wavelength. Tigner stated that the live music aspect to the event was key because music is the best form of therapy especially for those who suffer from mental illness.

The Rally 4 Recovery event also had guest speakers come in to share their stories of recovery and treating mental illness as well as addiction. One of those guest speakers was Austen Mullins who has battled with addiction for part of his life. He has been in recovery for the past eight months and has been making steady progress according to his mother, Missy Mullins.

Mullins stated at the event that he put himself into recovery after the birth of his child as well as seeing what his addiction was doing to his mother’s mental health. His mother was also present at the event and gave her perspective on what Austin was going through and how it affected her.

“These events are very important and I wish there were more of them,” Missy said. “Because it seems like this is a very big epidemic and it’s very sad.”

“They were very well received,” Tigner said. “I was proud of the way that everybody gave them all of their attention and really soaked in what they had to say.”

The event was held at Perry Behavioral Health Choices Activity Center located on South Main Street in New Lexington. Tigner has worked with PBHC in the past to hold similar events since his organization and PBHC hold similar philosophies. PBHC provides outpatient drug and alcohol treatment for residents of Perry County. The types of services provided at the center include outpatient treatments, assessments, individual counseling, group counseling, case management, urinalysis, crisis intervention, residential treatment for women and prevention services.

Rally 4 Recovery started on the principles of wanting to make a difference for those who are in need of guidance and help with mental recovery. The organization specializes in helping Perry County residents as well as others with mental illness and addiction while also celebrating the struggle that comes along with recovery. The group was founded in May of 2017.

The organization’s mission is to keep up the good fight with supporting one another in the fight against mental illness. The group also aims to end the stigma that accompanies those who suffer from mental illness, Tigner stated.

The next Rally 4 Recovery event will be held in October at the New Lexington High School. All of the fundraising made during the spring event will go towards organizing the fall event. In between now and the next event, Tigner has plans to contact various local schools in the area in order to spread the word and to spread his organization’s message about recovery.

“Our whole thing is that we are trying to erase the stigma one day at a time,” Tigner said. “There’s many out there that stigmatize mental illness and that stigma should be lifted. Once that stigma is lifted, then everybody will be comfortable talking about it. We have to get the word out there when everybody else is afraid to speak up.”

“Your not alone,” Missy said. “There is somebody out there that will listen and guide you — always keep fighting, because you are enough.”

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