Temple Emanuel hosting Mental Health Expo on Sunday

Actor Sean Astin, best known for his roles in “The Goonies,” “Rudy,” and “Lord of the Rings,” will provide the keynote address at Temple Emanuel’s Mental Health Expo on Sunday, May 17. Son of actress Patty Duke, who was diagnosed with manic-depressive illness in 1982, Astin travels the country speaking about growing up with a mother affected by severe mental health issues.

At 9:15 a.m. Astin will lead off the expo, which will also feature 18 workshops with topics ranging from dethroning the inner critic, suicide prevention, yoga, tai chi, stress management and much more. Provider exhibits with local mental health professionals, a Chill & Chat for seventh to 12th graders with Astin creative arts exhibit and a stigma reduction walk will also be part of the day.

This past year, following a Yom Kippur sermon by Rabbi Larry Sernovitz, Temple Emanuel assembled a mental health initiative task force, understanding that mental health challenges cause considerable suffering and damage.

“As a community we have an obligation to respond to vital issues when they occur. No longer can we remain silent when individuals and families are suffering” said Sernovitz.

The task force focused on the importance of joining together to help one another and educate the community. A campaign entitled “I Will Listen” followed shortly, in an effort to portray the significance of acceptance. The Mental Health Expo is a culmination of this year’s work.

“This Expo is an incredible opportunity for our whole community to come together, to fight the stigma associated with mental health issues and to truly make a difference”, said co-chair Loren Firstenberg.

The Expo is co-sponsored by Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Southern NJ, Cherry Hill Township, the State of New Jersey Department of Human Services and Camden County Division of Mental Health Services

The schedule for the day is as follows:

  • Keynote Address by Sean Astin — 9:15 to 10:15 a.m.
  • Provider Exhibits — 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Stigma Reduction Walk — 10:30 to 11 a.m.
  • Creative Arts Exhibit — 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • I Will Listen Selfie Campaign — 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Workshops — 10:25 a.m. to noon
  • Chill & Chat for seventh to 12th graders with Sean Astin — 10:30 a.m.
  • “The ReUptake Project” — noon to 1 p.m.

Details on the workshops can be found at www.templeemanuel.org. For more information, contact Marc Rothstein at (856) 489–0029.

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