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Running for a reason

Second annual ‘Race Away the Stigma’ 5K hopes to raise money, awareness of mental health disorders

One in four adult Americans will experience a mental health disorder in a given year.

Staggeringly, less than a third of those people will receive treatment for their disorder. Some don’t even have access to mental health services.

But according to Angela Solis, owner of Crossroads Counseling in Morris and a licensed clinical professional counselor, many others do not seek treatment due to a negative perception of mental illness.

“Many people still have this idea that mental health problems aren’t normal,” Solis said.

At the second annual “Race Away the Stigma” 5K, Solis hopes to raise money and awareness of mental health.

To be held at 9 a.m. this Saturday, May 4, at Gebhard Woods State Park in Morris — “rain or shine” — the race will raise money for those who have trouble accessing mental health treatment.

The race itself will be a message that mental disorders —including depression, anxiety and bipolar disorders — are common.

“Ultimately, there’s so many of us who have suffered ourselves or have had a family member who has,” Solis said. “It’s not something to be ashamed of.”

Crossroads Counseling Services has locations in Morris, Minooka, Ottawa and Naperville. Some of the issues they treat include depression, anxiety, stress, self-esteem issues, bipolar disorder, self-injurious behavior, anger management, and problems with relationships.

Solis said a number of staff members will be on-site at the race to answer questions about mental health.

According to Solis, around 50 people have signed up for this year’s race so far, and participants can sign up the day of the event. Registration and check-in runs from 7:30 to 8:45 a.m.

Solis said that about 100 people ran or walked last year, and she is hoping for an equal or better turnout this year.

“The main message is that it’s OK to ask for help,” Solis said. “It’s much more difficult to go through it all alone.”

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