Breckenridge Texan

‘Mind Matters’ event brings together community members for a discussion on breaking the mental health stigma

‘Mind Matters’ event brings together community members for a discussion on breaking the mental health stigma
May 19
18:08 2024

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

On Saturday, May  11, about 50 people gathered together in Breckenridge to talk about mental health, offering support and resources to each other. The goal of the “Mind Matters: Break the Stigma” event was to remove the stigma associated with mental illness, to encourage anyone who needs help to seek it and to save lives by preventing suicide.

Julie Carstens McNett started organizing the event shortly after her friend Shalon Taylor Wilson died by suicide earlier this year. This month is Mental Health Awareness Month, as promoted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“It was her death that made me realize the need for awareness,” McNett said “(Shalon) was my driving force. But … everybody that needs help, including myself, you know, that’s why I did it.”

Yuri Huntington, a local life coach, talks to the attendees at the Mind Matters event about her nephew’s suicide and her decision to continue her education in the mental health field. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

McNett worked with Shana Vandergriff, Tammy Wimberley-Anderson and Shelley Lipps-Jackson to plan the event, which was originally scheduled to take place on the Stephens County Courthouse lawn but was moved to the First Methodist Church’s Christian Life Center after a forecast of rain. During the event, Van Moore, Jared McLane, Paul Huntington and Cabel Perkins provided inspirational music.

Yuri Huntington spoke about her nephew’s suicide and how after receiving the call about his death, she decided to continue her education in the mental health field. Huntington has a master’s degree in Human Service Counseling from Liberty University and has a life coaching business (as well as serves as the executive director of the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce). 

“So for me, my calling in life, my passion, is to bring awareness and to help remove the stigma of mental illness,” she said. “Because when we think about when people get sick, whether they’re diagnosed with cancer or diabetes, there’s a long quick prayer chain and a line of casseroles waiting to start a food chain for those that are hurting physically. But then when it comes to mental illness, sometimes we forget that the organ in our body, this brain, is just like other organs, you know, and it needs to be treated. And so my passion for mental health comes from that.”

Huntington went on to talk about some of the resources available in the Breckenridge community for anyone who needs help dealing with problems such as stress, anxiety, family issues, depression, trauma, grief, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts and other mental health or emotional needs.

Breckenridge resident Will Thompson also talked to the audience about some of the problems he’s faced in life and some of the ways he dealt with them. He said that anyone who is experiencing a mental health crisis should not isolate themselves, and he encouraged everyone to reach out to someone around them or to a professional if they need help.

Several local organizations had tables set up, offering information about their services.

Some of the local mental health resources include:

  • Resource Care, which offers counseling and behavioral health services, as well as medical and dental care, located at 2802 W. Walker St. Phone: 254-559-7215. Website:
  • Stephens Memorial Hospital, which offers emergency services, located at 200 S. Geneva. Phone: 254-559-2241. Website:
  • Breckenridge Medical Center, which offers medical care, located at 101 S. Hartford. Phone: 254-559-3383.
  • Breck Family Counseling, 117 W. Walker St., 254-559-2868.
  • Berkley Wellness, 102 E. Sixth St., 254-559-7215.
  • Betty Hardwick Center, offering mental health and intellectual and developmental disability services, 1612 W. Walker St., 254-522-3490.
  • Open Door, offering pregnancy, parenting and life skills services, 110 N. Live Oak, 254-559-4045.
  • Celebration Recovery, a confidential and anonymous resource for those seeking help for addictions, anger issues, abuse, mental health recovery and other situations, at Bethany Baptist Church, 1911 W. Walker St. Meets on  Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. for a meal and 7 p.m. for the group meeting.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meets from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays at Dos Gallos Restaurant, 700 W. Walker St. For more information, text Dave at 415-699-2752.
  • Huntington Coaching, life coaching services, 559-350-3292.
  • Donna Jackson, life coach, 101 E. Walker St., Suite 508, 254-559-4414.
  • Essential Community Services, call 2-1-1 for information about the State of Texas’ health and mental health services.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or text “HELLO” or “HOME” to 741741. Or, you call or text to the number 9-8-8, which is the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.
  • In an emergency situation, call 9-1-1 for help for local emergency responders.

McNett said that she wants to make the event an annual gathering. Additionally, the Mind Matters organizers are planning an event focused specifically on suicide prevention in September, which is National Suicide Prevention Month.

Multiple local businesses helped support the Mind Matters event with a variety of donations. Additionally, the Steven Furtick Ministries provided several copies of his book “Do the New You” for door prizes.

Will Thompson talked to the audience about the problems he’s dealt with in his life and encouraged anyone who is experiencing a mental health crisis to reach out to someone around them or to a professional. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Tammy Wimberley Anderson, a psychiatric nurse practitioner at ResourceCare Community Health Center, talks to the people at Mind Matters about the mental health resources available in Breckenridge. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

About 50 people attended “Mind Matters: Break the Stigma” on May 11. Organizer Julie Carstens McNett plans to make it an annual event. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: Candles line the stage as Jared McLane, Cabel Perkins, Paul Huntington and Van Moore perform inspirational music at “Mind Matters: Break the Stigma.” (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)



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