‘It’s all connected’: Mental Health Awareness Day to be held Saturday in Norfolk to support youth


NORFOLK, Va (WAVY) — Neighborhood violence, anxiety, depression, failing grades in school: it’s all connected, according to the Concerned Citizen Association-Tidewater Connection.

On Saturday, the organization is hosting a mental health awareness day in the Diggs Town area of Norfolk, where they say kids who need help aren’t getting enough.

When 15-year-old Kristopher Edmonds was shot and killed over the summer in Diggs Town, the community came together to mourn. It was at a vigil for Edmonds when a child’s words propelled Barrett Hicks to get help.

“‘I saw my friend bleed out.’ He actually told me this. [He] couldn’t have been more than 8 or 9. I have a grandson [who’s] 10 and it just touched my heart,” Hicks told WAVY.

Hicks said he reached out to the Norfolk Community Services Board seeking grief counselors. When that didn’t work, he turned to social media with his plea.

“And they’re coming, they’re coming, they’re coming,” he said.

A dozen mental health professionals will be on the ground from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23.

“We surely think that the mental health issue is a part of this violence,” Hicks told us.

It’s also connected, he believes, to the academic struggles many of these children have.

“I’m a Berkeley boy, born and raised in the Berkeley community, so I know this community as well. And I know the additional adult voice is what helped me to get out of that community,” Hicks said.

They will begin Saturday at 11:30 a.m. with the “It’s All Connected Community Walk.” It will pass the Southside STEM Academy, community center, Boys and Girls Club, and more. On the walk, they will show where the resources are available: places where kids can learn new skills, and uncork bottled up emotions that may otherwise lead to anxiety, and depression, more violence and more vigils.

Hicks said the event is open to anyone.

“We’ve got to make a change, and that change starts with us,” he said.

10 On Your Side reached out to the Norfolk Community Services Board about the request for community counseling in July. A spokesperson told us they will be at the event tomorrow and that they do provide intervention for individuals in crisis, but when it comes to community response, they recommended that the group work with the redevelopment and housing authority and pubic schools.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

WAVY Twitter Widget

***Don’t Miss Module Removal CSS***

WAVY Facebook