MADISON, NJ - The Madison Area YMCA celebrated International Day of Happiness on March 20 to support Paint the Town Yellow, a campaign to encourage optimism and to shine a light on depression. Y staff members wore yellow to support the effort and children enrolled at the F.M. Kirby Children’s Center of the Madison Area YMCA participated in “happiness” activities. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the nation’s largest grassroots organization devoted to enhancing the lives of all affected by mental illness, will present “In Our Own Voice” on Thursday, April 20, at 7 p.m. at the Madison Area YMCA on Kings Road. Presenters will describe the reality of living in recovery with a mental illness. They will share powerful personal stories, which adds a critical perspective to the popular understanding about the life of a person with a mental illness and dispels stereotypes and misconceptions. The Y joins other Madison businesses and organizations in support of Paint the Town Yellow and in adopting optimism-inspired art from New Jersey artists to spread awareness of depression and mental health and to increase optimism. Art is currently on display in the lobby of the Family Center on Kings Road through April 30. More than 60 artists and 30 organizations have united to Shine a Light on Depression, by creating Optimistic art, activities and events— all featuring International Optimism Yellow (a.k.a. ‘INT-O Yellow’). A portion of proceeds benefit the Madison Area YMCA’s Community Mental Health Initiative and UMEWE.org (supporting Optimism in the Arts). The Y’s Community Mental Health Initiative raises awareness and lowers the stigma associated with mental illness. The initiative also focuses on reducing barriers to mental health care by providing community members with knowledge and skills to enhance their ability to help. The YMCA provides opportunities to become certified in Mental Health First Aid. An evidence-based skills training course, Mental Health First Aid is designed for non-mental health professionals, preparing them to know how to help reduce the social distance between people with mental illnesses and others. The Madison Area YMCA is a 501c3 cause-driven charitable organization dedicated to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.
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