West Allis Community Read

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, and the City of West Allis, the West Allis-West Milwaukee Mental Health and Substance Abuse Task Force, and Aurora Health Care are partnering to offer a full month of activities that will encourage conversation about mental health issues and work to #stopthestigma of mental health issues in the community.

You’re invited to read the novel It’s Kind of a Funny Story, by Ned Vizzini. After reading the book, join us in watching the movie and attending other events designed to educate and empower our community to support those struggling with mental health conditions. All events are free of charge unless noted, and include:

Friday, May 3, 3:30 - 5 p.m., West Allis Public Library | Community Read Kick Off

Learn more about the impacts of mental health issues in our community through games and activities. Limited free copies of the book will be available for pick-up as well.

Tuesday, May 7, 6 - 7:30 p.m., Aurora West Allis Medical Center | parenting children and adolescents with anxiety

A community program for parents and caregivers to connect with resources and strategies for overcoming anxiety in children and teens. Registration is required; click here to register (you will be redirected to Aurora Health Care's website).

Thursday, May 9, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., Inspiration Studios |Painting My Emotions! 

Participants will explore ways to express emotion through art. Local artist Rosie Hartman will guide the discussion and lead participants through the creation of their own unique works of art. Class size is limited to 30 participants. Please email Erico Ortiz at ericoortiz@aol.com or call 414-587-3474 to reserve your seat.

Thursday, May 16, 6:30 p.m., West Allis Public Library | It's Kind of a Funny Story Film Viewing

Free showing of the film It’s Kind of a Funny Story. The film is suitable for audiences in middle grades through adults.

Saturday, May 18, 10 a.m., West Allis City Hall Art Gallery | Community Conversation

Community Conversation with the West Allis Public Library and health care professionals about the book It's Kind of a Funny Story. Share your thoughts about the book and film and learn more about supporting your mental health and the mental health of your loved ones.

Wednesday, May 29, 6 - 8:30 p.m., West Allis Central High School | Reflections of Wellness for women self-care expo (admission: $5 in advance, $10 at the door)

Women are invited to learn more about supporting their mental health through an inspiring evening of speakers and activities, including yoga, music therapy, mindfulness training, and more.  Guest speakers include Carrie McEvoy Ripp, MSW, presenting "Your Mental Health Matters," and Bethany Debroux Adams, M.A., presenting "Taking the Long Way: One Woman's Journey Beyond Mental Illness to Health and Happiness." Register at Aurora.org/events (keyword: Reflections) or call 888-863-5502.

Thursday, May 30, 4 - 5 p.m., West Allis Public Library | Teen mental health break

Teens in grades 6 - 12 will learn how mindfulness can decrease stress and improve their mental health. Make a bath bomb, color a mandala, or create a galaxy jar as you learn how to support your mental health. 

Book Jacket for ts Kind of A Funny Story book by Ned Vizziniabout the book

Published in 2006, It’s Kind of a Funny Story was given a starred review by the American Library Association and was recognized as one of its Best Books for Young Adults in 2007. The book is a  coming-of-age novel written by American author Ned Vizzini. Told from the first-person perspective, the story follows teenage protagonist Craig Gilner as he seeks psychiatric help after a period of mental illness. Though the novel deals directly with issues like depression, suicide, and recovery, Vizzini uses humor to add levity to the story of his character’s struggles. The book is based loosely on the author’s experience in a psychiatric ward to treat his clinical depression as a young adult. Vizzini, who published several works with themes around mental health, committed suicide in 2013 at the age of 32.

Find copies of It's Kind of a Funny Story at West Allis Public Library or at Little Free Libraries throughout West Allis, courtesy of Rotary Club of West Allis.

 If you or a loved one are affected by mental health or substance abuse issues, dial 2-1-1 on your phone or visit www.westalliswi.gov/stopthestigma to connect with local resources.

For additional information about these events, call the West Allis Public Library at 414-302-8500