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Group focuses on educating people about mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month

During Mental Health Awareness Month, a New York organization is celebrating by helping people learn about mental health.

The Center for the Independence of the Disabled New York will be holding a Wellness Fair on May 13. Along with mental health, the fair will also focus on spiritual and physical health.

The fair will include a wellness circuit – which includes grounding techniques, coping strategies and mindfulness. Dr. Sharon McLennon-Wier, CIDNY’s executive director, described the importance of mental health to overall health.

“The brain really oversees everything that we do and feel,” said McLennon-Wier. “So, it’s imperative that we learn how to regulate our emotions, understand what we eat can affect how we feel.”

She added that it’s also important to monitor how different activities affect mood regulation.

The Wellness Fair will be held at CIDNY’s Manhattan office at 1010 6th Avenue from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Anyone looking to attend can register online at

According to Mental Health America’s State of Mental Health report, almost 3 Million New Yorkers have a mental illness.

As important as mental health is, McLennon-Wier noted that there is still a stigma surrounding it.

Along with the need for payment parity, McLennon-Wier said there are other challenges that need to be addressed so people have better access to mental health services.

“There’s never enough providers to give the services, right? We are in a short point of clinicians,” said McLennon-Wier. “There are Ph.D-level clinicians as well as master’s-level clinicians, and we need to get more people in the field.”

A 2022 report from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds there are more than 200 Health Professional Shortage Areas in New York. The report also notes it would take 411 practitioners to remove the HPSA designations.

But, many feel this will come soon since $1 billion are being invested in mental-health care and staffing in the 2024 State Budget.