MTSU Partners with R.I.S.E. Coalition for Inaugural First-Aid for Mental Health Youth Wellness Expo

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Middle Tennessee State University is partnering with R.I.S.E. Coalition to host the inaugural First-Aid for Mental Health Youth Wellness Expo from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 24, at MTSU’s Miller Education Center, 503 E. Bell St.

The event is a collaboration between MTSU’s Center for Counseling and Psychological Services, MTSU Center for Fairness, Justice and Equity, United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties, and R.I.S.E. Coalition.

The event is free and open to the public. Registration is requested, but not required, at rutherfordontherise.org.

“We felt like this is an opportunity for us to be involved with helping R.I.S.E. facilitate a mental health awareness,” said Robin Lee, director of the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services. “This expo is going to help the youth who attend know what resources are available to them. It’s also a great way to bring the community and providers together so they can have a conversation about mental health.”

The nonprofit R.I.S.E. Coalition has a multifaceted mission to bridge the gap between ideas and action in communities of color, explained founder and president Eric Meriwether. The acronym stands for Rutherford Inclusivity Service and Empowerment.

“The goal and the objective is essentially to reach those in the community whose race, culture or class would otherwise be overlooked as it relates to funding and resources,” said Meriwether, a local financial advisor and Jones College of Business alumnus.

In the wake of the pandemic, counselors across the board are seeing an increase in mental health struggles, especially in youth. Anxiety and depression seem to be two of the most prevalent issues that our youth deal with today, Meriwether said.

“Those of us involved in R.I.S.E. are trying to do something about it,” Meriwether said. “The whole premise is bringing information and knowledge to the community.”

One of the key components of the event is a mental health panel discussion with professionals within the community. Speakers will include:

  • LaShan Dixon, director of sustainability, Tennessee Department of Health
  • Travis Lampley, Rutherford County Juvenile Court judge
  • Zoe Phillips, social influencer, owner and certified personal trainer at Self LLC
  • Tempest Meriwether, licensed professional counselor, owner at Beloved Counseling Services
  • Mia Ferrell, clinical director at Cedar Recovery
  • Mary Kaye G. Anderson, licensed psychologist, director at MTSU Counseling Services
  • Martez Nelson, licensed professional counselor, social justice and inclusion counselor at Vanderbilt University Counseling Center
  • Lynn Armstrong, mental health program therapist at Rutherford County Recovery Court

A question-and-answer session with youth will follow.

There will also be food, giveaways and engaging activities for all ages. And nearly two dozen vendors will be on hand, including the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center, Child Advocacy Center, MTSU counseling resources, private counseling practices, among others.

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