UP Recovery Conference held Thursday

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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Diagnosis of mental health is not the end—that was the message at the eleventh annual U.P. Recovery Conference, held at Northern Michigan University Thursday.

The conference's goal was to spread awareness among people with mental illness they are not alone and they have an entire network of people to be by their side.

Hoarding, reactivating your life by setting short term goals, and healthy eating were all workshops at the free conference.

People from all over the U.P. gathered and networked with counselors and other people with similar challenges.

"Recovery is always possible. You may feel like it's the end of the world because you're going through a mental health diagnosis or you're going through something traumatic or painful," Community Network Service Anti-Stigma Team member Soliana Berhane said. "But there's light at the end of the tunnel."

The strongest message was if you have a problem, be open and talk.

"We've just had a dramatic example in our community of where silence led to a very tragic outcome, and that we don't want silence," Northcare Network Psychologist Lucy Wilcox said.

She said privacy is important, but people who need help should not hide.

"We hope to be able to have them see that there is a future," Recovery Conference Chairperson Fran McKay said. "If you see a friend that might be dealing with an issue that they're not able to get past, that you encourage them."

McKay said encourage them to ask for help, and even allow their neighbors to be a beacon of hope.

Mental health issues affect one in five Americans, and the speakers all said people should remain strong.

"Understand that like diabetes doesn't lock you up at home in shame, that mental illness doesn't need to lock you up at home," Wilcox said.

"It doesn't matter what you faced in your past it doesn't just have to be mental health challenges like mine but any challenge you face," CNS Anti-Stigma Team Supervisor Malkia Newman said. "You can overcome it."

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

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