In keeping with our mission and vision of expanding access to mental health care and resources and promoting open dialogue about mental health issues, the Pro Bono Counseling Project (PBCP) took part recently in a mental wellness fair hosted by Bollman Bridge Elementary School in Savage, Maryland.

About one hundred parents and children participated in the BBES Wellness Resource Fair on Monday, May 13, 2019.  Alongside PBCP, over a dozen community organizations and agencies were represented, including the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), the Howard County Mental Health Authority, HopeWorks Howard County, and others.

PBCP Executive Director Amy Greensfelder spoke with families about a variety of topics, including the general importance of mental health care and ways for families to access counseling and other mental health resources. She also participated in a brief session during which she spoke from personal experience about the mental health benefits of yoga as a family activity.

At the request of fair organizers, PBCP provided outreach materials in Spanish, as well as Hakha Chin, a language spoken in Burma that is well-represented among the community served by Bollman Bridge Elementary School. To procure materials in Hakha Chin, PBCP worked with Ayuda, a DC-based nonprofit focused on the needs of vulnerable immigrant populations. Translation services were made possible through funding from the Governor’s Office for Crime Control and Prevention, Victims of Crime Act grant.

The Pro Bono Counseling Project would like to recognize the efforts of the staff at Bollman Bridge Elementary School, particularly the hard work of school psychologist Jessica Smolarz, who organized the event and reached out to PBCP and the other organizations involved. It is through events like the BBES Wellness Resource Fair that communities can gain awareness of mental health issues, and we can begin to ease the stigmas and misunderstandings surrounding mental illness that can stand between people and the care they need.