GREENSBORO, N.C. — Jennifer Keating volunteers at Mental Health Greensboro in Guilford County.
The nonprofit provides free peer support services to the community.
Before acting as a volunteer, Keating found herself grappling with a crisis of her own.
“Past trauma and I already have a chronic illness and so I found myself falling into a spiral downhill and it just seemed like I was really struggling,” Keating said.
In 2017 she began participating in recovery support and educational programs at Mental Health Greensboro.
Now, four years later she is a state certified peer support specialist.
She assists others coping with traumatic experiences.
“They helped me rebuild my self-esteem,” Keating said.
“Gave me courage, I’m now answering phones and volunteering, I’m out in the community. I never would have done this prior to Mental Health Greensboro.”
The organization helps roughly four-thousand people like Keating each year.
Executive Director Donna Shelton said there’s a lack of understanding when it comes to mental health.
“It’s a chronic condition that can be managed just like any other chronic condition, but it can be treated,” Shelton said.
“There’s a lot of research that shows that there’s still a lot of discrimination and resistance in the workplace to hiring people with mental illness, in the community for housing, for just building social networks.”
The group is hosting the Stomp the Stigma Drive -Thru Concert at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Money raised from the event will go back into the organization’s programs.
“We want to reach the community and get people to really understand there is a stigma attached to mental health issues and that they have to stomp it,” Development Committee Chair Rick Schneider said.
“They have to get rid of it and deal with it and face it.”
The drive-thru concert will be held on June 12 at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $50 per vehicle of four adults.
Stage seating tickets are $12.
Performing acts include Russ Varnell & His Too Country Band and Michael Cosner & The Fugitives.