BOONVILLE, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – As a way to bring awareness to the mental health struggles today’s youth are facing, the Center for Family Life & Recovery (CFLR) partnered with local community partners to host their first-ever “Youth Mental Health Day” at Erwin Park in Boonville.

CFLR offers a place where both children and adults can seek help with a variety of issues, by working to not only aid but also by promoting consistent care and hope.

And today, kids of any age, from any school district, were welcome to attend and enjoy the festivities focused on wellness and self-care.

“Here today we have a whole bunch of different activities for kids,” said Francesca Esposito, mental Health prevention Coordinator at CFLR.

“We tried to hit every single part of your mental health – just doing different activities and doing different hobbies – that’s very good for your mental health and your body – especially when you’re experiencing stress or other mental health conditions.”

Unfortunately, there is still a negative stigma surrounding mental health, but one way to fight this is by showing today’s youth that it’s okay to speak out and that there are healthy ways to cope.

“To work on mental health and improve mental health in our community we have to fight the stigma for it,” said Esposito, “We have to tell kids that it’s okay to have feelings and to experience negative emotions, as long as we’re aware of them and we’re dealing with them in a positive way.”

And while this event had fun activities such as a bounce house and inflatable axe throwing, it also introduced healthy coping strategies like yoga, arts and crafts, music, and more.

It also provided adults the opportunity to learn about other partners within the community who offer similar services and resources.

“A lot of times we need each other,” said Jen Pedersen, Peer Support Program Manager at ICAN.

“We don’t always have the same services for the families, or maybe the other agencies might be a better fit for that family depending on location, or providers that they offer,” she continued, “So it’s a great place for them to see all of us together in one place and find out who can do what for those families.”

And while this event was called Youth Mental Health Day, CFLR is always available to assist those in need throughout the year, and more information can be found on their website.