PANAMA CITY, Fla. - For millions of Americans, living with mental health issues is an everyday reality. That's why locals gathered at Oaks by the Bay Park in St. Andrews this morning to walk for a good cause.
There are many reasons why talking about mental health can be hard. That's why NAMI Bay County hosts their annual walk to raise awareness about mental health.
"Get folks involved in a sort of fun way, a neat perspective to have on that. We need to get awareness out and education about that so were not blind by the fact that its out there and it affects so many people," said Katie Williams.
Katie Williams works in mental healthcare and came to St. Andrews for the event from Jackson County.
"We always need more folks to be aware that mental illness affects anybody, any color, any race, any age, and to have people who are involved and to keep proactively working to help those who suffer from that," said Williams.
"I've had a number of illnesses that would have normally ended in my death," said Virgil Dufell.
Virgil Dufell has lived with mental health issues throughout his life but he hasn't let that hold him back.
"Here I am at 82-year-olds and getting on the treadmill everyday at my house and I do believe that it is so valuable if we stay active doing something to help other people," said Dufell.
He says Saturday is all about advocacy, education, and most importantly respect.
"If we just all do that, the world would work so much better, whether it be right here in Bay County or wherever you want to look at it, planet earth," said Dufell.
Today was their 11th year hosting the walk, but their first time in St. Andrews.
For more information on the organization visit https://www.nami.org/