Prayer vigil, balloon release held for mental health awareness

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – A cluster of green balloons were released in Montgomery’s Seth Johnson neighborhood on Saturday.

“The green represents mental health,” said Angela Exford, the president of the Seth Johnson Neighborhood Association

Mental health is topic the group is taking seriously. They believe it is one of the root causes for violent crime in the city, which is why they raised awareness through a prayer vigil and balloon release.

Participants are hoping folks unify in erasing the stigma around finding proper treatment.

“I’m a mother who deals with mental health issues on a daily basis,” participant Cubie Hayes said. “My son had a challenge in his later years, and I had to do everything that I could to get him stabilized.”

Her son is now back on the right track.

“I implore mothers and fathers go get your child some help,” Hayes said.

In addition to praying about mental health, the group also prayed for families who have lost loved ones. They’re neighbors supporting neighbors.

“We had loss of life in our neighborhood about a week or so ago,” Exford said. “It touched all of our hearts. Our hearts are heavy. We’re praying for the family, and we wanted the family to know that we’re praying for them too as well.”

Representatives from the city, Montgomery Public Schools, as well as Christian and Islam religious leaders attended the event.

“We’ve got to learn to work together as people of varying faiths, people of different organizations, people on different agendas to gain one agenda, and that is the saving of lives in the city of Montgomery,” said Keith Moore, the director of Montgomery’s Office of Violence Prevention

Copyright 2022 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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