SYLVANIA, OH (WTOL) - An evening of empowerment, advocacy, and hope was the focus of an event at Sylvania Northview High school Tuesday.
The Stomp Out Stigma event is where all are welcome to talk about the symptoms of mental illness and how to address it sooner rather than later.
Parents especially were encouraged to share their stories with one another.
Julie Turner is a Co-Chair for Tuesday's event and explains the hope of outreach.
"Our Superintendent was very encouraging for us to branch out and include all the other districts that are in our area," Turner said. "So we have, we've invited 12 other districts and some parochial schools to be a part of this event because we know that with struggles, it takes a village, and people need to know that they're not alone."
Mental health representatives from 30 area organizations were available at tables with information to share before and after the presentation.
The purpose is to promote dialogue, decrease stigma and shame and provide parents with a multitude of resources about mental health.
Cami Golding Co-Chairs the Mental Health Committee for Sylvania Schools.
"Our minds tend to go to school shootings right away, with the school and mental health, but really, that's the minority," Golding said. "There are children that are hurting and suffering every day that warrant good care and help right now, and it doesn't need to escalate to a school shooting to get attention."
The keynote speaker, Melanie Melfi, who is a Sylvania parent herself, shared her journey of advocacy and methods of finding strength for a child with mental illness.
"Everyone feels this," Melfi explained. "It affects a lot of people, whether it's in your workplace or what have you, and I think it's important we all come together and start educating each other and learning more about it because that's the only way we're going to Stomp out Stigma, really."
Melfi also says the ideal result from this event is to get people talking.
A survey was handed out to those in attendance to see if more Stomp Out Stigma events would be effective moving forward.