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Medical Monday 4.28.14: Teen Launched Run/Walk To Promote Depression Awareness

| April 30, 2014


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A young woman is leading the way in her community of Fort Kent, promoting physical fitness as a proactive way to combat depression and teen suicide. As Shawn Cunningham reports in this week’s Medical Monday, momentum is building for a walk and run that will put mental health issues in a NEON SPOTLIGHT.

After a brief spring break, its back to school for Steffany Paradis and her classmates, who are sitting in this health class. And it’s preserving the community’s MENTAL HEALTH, that has been a primary concern for Paradis all year long. So much so, this 17 year old has been spurred to action. Paradisis launching the first ever Fort Kent MAYDAY Neon Run on May 1st to educate the community about the dangers of depression and suicide.

“I feel like its a subject that’s not talked about enough and people are scared to talk about it and I think that with the help of bringing awareness to it it can allow people to feel comfortable talking about how they feel and I think with the help of physical fitness especially running and jogging even walking people can really feel better about themselves,” says Paradis.

Paradis planned the walk as part of a yearlong student project where she studied the correlation between sedentary lifestyle and mental health issues like depression and suicide. Local healthcare practitioners say its an important message that all people need to hear, but especially youth.

Courtney Deprey is an Emergency Services Specialist for the Aroostook Mental Health Center and says “Adolescents or people at a younger age need to incorporate this into their lifestyle so it becomes their lifestyle as they get older I think one big concern I see alot is people don’t know how to effectively cope with depression and anxiety and then in the adolescent years they’re at high risk because they turn to substances to self medicate.”

Paradis says she’s received a great deal of community support in organizing the run including from local businesses and most especially her peers. She says anyone can affect positive change at any age.

“I feel that me being so young people could maybe think its not possible but I think every little bit helps and the younger you start the easier it is as you get older to make a difference.”

The run-walk begins Thursday May 1st at 7:30 at Riverside Park in Fort Kent.

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