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The story behind the debut Mocktail Monday
Bartenders rally around Mental Health America for an alcohol-free event. Plus, other reads for a Sunday morning.
Thanks to the Tippecanoe County Historical Association, as it prepares for the Feast of the Hunters’ Moon. The 55th annual Feast returns Oct. 1-2 to Fort Ouiatenon. For advance tickets, weekend passes and more on the recreation of 18th century life along the Wabash River, click on the links below.
SERVING UP MOCKTAIL MONDAY FOR MENTAL HEALTH
More than a dozen Greater Lafayette restaurants, bars and markets have their bartenders preparing signature nonalcoholic cocktails for Mocktail Monday, a debut event for Mental Health America as it marks September’s dual Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and Recovery Month.
What’s the deal with an early week, after-work mixer for mental health? Here’s Brandi Christian, president and CEO of Mental Health America-Wabash Valley Region, on how it’s coming together.
Q: What was the idea behind Mocktail Monday?
Brandi Christiansen: We are serving more and more individuals and families entering into recovery for substance use disorders and wanted to be sensitive to the folks we are employing and serving as we created an inaugural fundraising event. We wanted them to feel comfortable and to have opportunities to socialize in a sober environment. We also wanted to normalize not drinking at social functions. COVID-19 has had an impact on alcohol and other substances being used to cope with anxiety and depression. This is alarming and can lead to addiction, which in Stage 4 can result in job loss, incarceration and even death. Until recently the only option for people at events such as weddings and office parties have been alcohol or the kiddy cooler. Mocktails are trending as an option to experience a tasty beverage without having to ingest alcohol. Ultimately, we want to invest in the well-being of our communities and felt this would be an exciting opportunity.
Q: It’s Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. What’s been Mental Health America’s approach to highlighting that?
Brandi Christiansen: As the 988 center for our region, we take suicide prevention very seriously. It’s what we do. We are also the co-chairs for the Region 4 Suicide Prevention Coalition, so we are working with our partners to engage our community and get the word out about our support group for Survivors of Suicide, our 24/7 hotline 765-742-0244, but also all of the great work our partners are doing, such as NAMI of West Central Indiana’s NAMI Walks on Oct. 8. We acknowledged our volunteers and staff at our annual meeting, and we are taking the opportunity to train medical staff, non for profits, teachers and faith based leaders in suicide prevention this month.
Q: When people ask, how do you tell them about help available? Or about being an ally to help someone who might be vulnerable and contemplating suicide?
Brandi Christiansen: People ask in a variety of ways about help that is available, and we tell them the same thing. They are not alone, there are many resources available, our website – www.mhawv.org – is a great place to start, and if we can’t help you, we will get you connected to the right place. Our navigators and peers literally work with every agency and service provider in our region to ensure they can make solid referrals and follow up to ensure a continuum of care is established. Learning how to start the conversation has never been easier. We are teaching QPR (Question, Persuade and Refer), an evidence-based suicide prevention 101 by request.
Q: If people attend, how will the proceeds of the event be put to work?
Brandi Christiansen: We will use proceeds from the event to bolster our Peer Recovery Program “Let’s Talk” which is housed at our building at 914 South St. in Lafayette and is led by our peer recovery specialists who have lived “expertise” in mental health and addiction, and have completed a state certification program to be able to perform peer counseling, which is not clinical and does not replace therapy. In 2021 our peer recovery lead, Jonathan Jones, assisted 139 individuals in over 550 appointments in their individual journey of recovery.
Q: What other context should I know?
Brandi Christiansen: Mental Health America-Wabash Valley Region serves 11 counties with a full continuum of non-clinical care, including navigator case managers who connect individuals and families to mental health and addiction services by removing barriers and doing the leg work for them, the Let’s Talk program described above, the crisis center and 988 suicide prevention lifeline and our peer-led support groups and mental health prevention education, all at no cost to those we serve.
No matter where one is in their recovery journey, we meet them where they are at and together, we’ll get through it.
IF YOU GO: Mocktail Monday for Mental Health is 5:30-7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19, at River City Community Center, 2842 Old U.S. 231 in Lafayette. Tickets: $35, available through this link. For more information: mhawv.org/events/mocktail-monday-for-mental-health/
OTHER READS …
What can you say about the Boilers after Purdue’s last-minute comeback/last-minute loss Saturday at Syracuse? Here’s Journal & Courier reporter Mike Carmin’s recap: “Latest loss is 'going to sting for a while' as Purdue football looks to fix own issues.” More brutal than that, IndyStar columnist Gregg Doyel had this: “Purdue beat the hell out of Purdue.” Here’s Doyel’s column: “Purdue Purdue’d all over itself in final minutes, throws game away to Syracuse.”
Diego Morales, the Republican candidate for Indiana secretary of state, this week released assorted military paperwork, as questions swirled about his use of the word “veteran” in his campaign material. The issue bubbled to the surface when Indianapolis Star columnist James Briggs broached the subject in a midweek column (“Diego Morales’ military record is confusing”). The questions brought a debate over what it meant to be a veteran and whether Morales’ time with the Indiana National Guard qualified – and whether it qualified to be a centerpiece of a campaign for statewide office. Briggs followed up with a weekend piece with an opening paragraph: “Diego Morales has opened a window into his military record. The view is still hazy.” Here’s the full column: “Diego Morales' 3 months, 18 days on active-duty training.” Meanwhile, The Statehouse File had this after a conversation with the candidate: “Diego Morales responds to criticism of using ‘veteran’ to describe himself.”
Indiana Capital Chronicle reporters Whitney Downard and Casey Smith caught up with Gov. Eric Holcomb on Thursday, the day Indiana’s new abortion restrictions went into effect. Upshot: Holcomb continued to defend his decision to sign Senate Bill 1 into law, despite contentions that a majority of Hoosiers weren’t in favor. “If I had a nickel for every time I had somebody very sheepishly or quietly come up to me and say. ‘Thank you for signing,’” Holcomb said. Here’s the full story from the Indiana Capital Chronicle.
Indiana Capital Chronicle editor Niki Kelly took a look at the legal arguments from the ACLU that pit the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act against Indiana’s abortion restrictions. Here’s a way into her piece: “Can RFRA take down Indiana’s new abortion law?”
FINALLY … A LAST-MINUTE REMINDER, THE HUNGER HIKE EDITION: Activities surrounding the 30th anniversary of the Hunger Hike – a fundraiser for Lafayette Urban Ministry, Food Finders Food Bank and the St. Thomas Aquinas Haiti Ministry – start at 1 p.m. today at Riehle Plaza, Second and Main streets in downtown Lafayette. Before the 1.5K walk, the Hunger Hike features a family-friendly warmup, with a DJ, Zumba, Purdue cheerleaders, ax throwing and face painting. The walk starts at 2 p.m., with a magic show, boat demonstrations by the Purdue Crew team and more. To register or for more information, go to hungerhike.org.
Thanks to the Tippecanoe County Historical Association and the Feast of the Hunters’ Moon for sponsoring today’s edition. The 55th annual Feast will be Oct. 1-2 at Fort Ouiatenon, 3129 S. River Road, West Lafayette. For tickets and more details, click here.
THANKS FOR READING AND SUPPORTING INDEPENDENT, LOCAL REPORTING.
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