In today’s era of non-stop connectivity and seemingly endless pursuit of the so-called “hustle,” it’s important to take a time out for sanity’s sake.
The Last Letter Project, a community collective focused on fighting the stigma surrounding issues of mental health and drug rehabilitation, has provided just that with a brand new series of community forums entitled “Time Out Tuesday,” which encourage people to take a time out for mental health.
Hosted at Hive Mind, located at 375 W. Exchange St., on the first Tuesday of each month, Time out Tuesday acts as a break from the everyday stresses of life with the goal of giving community members the chance to sit down in a welcoming environment and interact with others who have shared their experiences. “Time out Tuesday is kind of a platform to open up the dialogue about mental health, and we’re trying to find these answers with the community,” said Jaclyn Wright, a co-founder of The Last Letter Project.
The primary focus is one of active outreach centered on the navigation of the murky waters of mental wellness and addiction recovery as a community, as opposed to having to deal with these complicated issues on one’s own. The understanding is that the audience is there to help the speaker as much as the speaker is there to help the audience. “Basically there’s no one answer to people’s mental health, everybody’s different. So what better way to help try to solve it than talk with people who have gone through it that are in a similar position,” co-founder Jon Zeit said. “It’s nice to talk to somebody who knows what the problem you’re going through is like.”
Whether someone is struggling with depression, fighting an ongoing battle with substance abuse, or just has a desire to become better informed about the mental health issues facing the community, all are welcome to attend. As a tool for outreach, it is there for everyone because these problems can affect anyone. “Depression doesn’t discriminate,” co-founder Michelle Zeit said, speaking about the wide variation of people present at the first Time Out Tuesday.
Each event will focus on different aspects concerning the health and wellness of the Akron community at large.
The inaugural forum, held June 5 and entitled “Out of the Dark and into the Bark: How a Furry Companion Can Enrich Your Life,” focused on the benefits of service and emotional support animals, therapy dogs and positive reinforcement training. Jennifer Mauger from L’Chaim Canine, Kelly Saunders from Gold Star Dog Training and Edie Steiner with Mutton Hill were the featured presenters.
Next month’s event, which takes place July 3, is called “Hike to Happy” and will showcase guest speaker Anthony Ondrus and his ongoing journey to create a better path to mental wellness. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at Hive Mind.
In 2013, Ondrus took a head-on approach to his struggles with depression by hiking the Appalachian Trail in its entirety. “The trail was going to be a way for me to rekindle a relationship with the better parts of myself, while coming to terms with the worst parts,” he said.
Also present will be representatives from the Cuyahoga Valley National Parks and the Northeast Ohio Rocks! painting group.
This is just a small look into what is quickly evolving into a much larger undertaking with a full schedule of events and national ambitions. For info about participating with The Last Letter Project or Time Out Tuesday, visit www.facebook.com/thellp.