Residents were invited out to join Orland Township Supervisor Paul O'Grady for an event called, Minds Matter 2024, on May 16 at Orland Township, 14807 S. Ravinia Avenue in Orland Park. (Supplied photos)

Residents were invited out to join Orland Township Supervisor Paul O'Grady for an event called, Minds Matter 2024, on May 16 at Orland Township, 14807 S. Ravinia Avenue in Orland Park. (Supplied photos)

Orland Township event focuses on mental health

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Minds Matter presenter, Gina Miceli-Chigaros, of Victress: A Wellness Center for Women in Palos Heights, and Orland Township Supervisor Paul O’Grady during Minds Matter on May 16.

By Kelly White

Orland Township is taking the time to focus on mental health.

Residents were invited out to join Orland Township Supervisor Paul O’Grady for an event called, Minds Matter 2024, on May 16 at Orland Township, located at 14807 S. Ravinia Avenue in Orland Park.

“This was an excellent opportunity to connect with others, explore new resources, and make a meaningful contribution to improving the lives of those who need it the most. Don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity,” O’Grady said.

The evening of mental health awareness was sponsored by Orland Township’s Youth & Family Services.

Minds Matter aimed to prioritize mental health while offering attendees the chance to explore a diverse range of vendors offering products and services that promote mental well-being. Attendees were able to take the opportunity to discover unique items, connect with experts, and find resources to support their own personal mental health journey.

Attendees were also able be able to participate in a group walk and illuminate lanterns to reflect on and to honor those who suffer in silence.

During the event, guests also had the opportunity to sample and purchase food from a selection of local Orland area restaurants while enjoying live music.

“Matter was an essential addition to our community,” O’Grady said. “It is crucial for local organizations like Orland Township to acknowledge the importance of mental health. By doing so, we can work together to combat the stigmas that surround it. This event will provide an opportunity to come together in support of those facing internal struggles and raise awareness that mental health should not be considered taboo. It is an opportunity for us to educate our neighbors and offer support to those in need. It’s important to me that events like Minds Matter exist for that reason: support.”

Presenter at the event, Gina Miceli-Chigaros, LCPC, of Victress: A Wellness Center for Women, in Palos Heights, agreed.

“In today’s world, students encounter a multitude of adversities and must develop effective strategies to cope with heightened levels of stress,” Micheli said. “Minds Matter was inspired by the need to acknowledge and support mental health. May is nationally known as Mental Health Awareness Month; and we decided it would be the perfect chance to provide valuable resources to help individuals effectively manage their mental health and combat the stigma that often surrounds them.”

Miceli, co-founder of Victress, 7120 W. 127th Street in Palos Heights, is a licensed clinical professional counselor who received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Eastern Illinois University and her Master’s of Arts in Community Counseling from CACREP-accredited Governors State University. She has experience in working with children, adolescents, adults, seniors, couples, and groups. She has worked with various populations pertaining to anxiety, depression, relationships, life transitions, parenting, bullying, grief, divorce, co-parenting and stress management.

“It’s important to hold events like this, focusing on mental health,” Miceli-Chigaros said.

Tickets were $15 to attend and the purchase included an event donation and one tribute lantern. Additional tribute lanterns could be purchased online for $10 each.

A portion of event proceeds will benefit NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness, which is the largest grassroots mental health organization in the nation, dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

1 Comment

  1. Judith McElroy on June 19, 2024 at 5:23 pm

    It was a wonderful event. Great people in attendance. Hope it becomes an annual event!!



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