BOLIVAR, Mo – People in Bolivar spent Thursday night walking to bring awareness to mental health.

Health leaders with Citizens Memorial Hospital are hosting the awareness walk after seeing an increase in requests for mental health assistance. 

“I can tell you we’ve seen a dramatic increase in pediatric psychiatric needs,” said Sarah Hanak, the chief nursing officer for CMH. “We are seeing, unfortunately, increased numbers in our ED for patients in all age levels who require mental health support.”

The team is working on new ways to provide help.

“Here in Bolivar, I know that a lot of people think we don’t know someone with mental illness, or there may not be that many people out here,” said Angela Long, organizer of the walk. “I don’t know anyone that doesn’t know someone that struggles with mental illness in some aspect. Whether that be depression, suicide, substance use disorder.”

Long said the hope for the walk is to bring together people who are struggling and people who want to show support.

“I’m passionate about this cause because, personally, I have lost family,” said Long. 

“I’ve also had a family member that actually lost their life because of substance use disorder.”

People attending the walk, she said, can learn music and art techniques to help with depression and anxiety 

The hope is that people struggling will reach out to CMH. People can also call 988 for help.