The moving message of the Jaunt in June walk
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SPOKANE, Wash. — A grassroots group of mental health advocates and those in recovery returned to the sidewalks of downtown Spokane this week after a three-year COVID hiatus. The Jaunt in June is an awareness walk put on by Spokane County's Consumer Consultation Panel (CCP).
"Ready?" someone asked Tuesday before leading a line of marchers out of the parking lot of Frontier Behavioral Health to cheers.
"Thank you everybody for walking," someone else shouted.
A short walk or a long journey. Either way, it starts with that first step.
"There may not be a cure, so to say, no vaccine or pill but you can find recovery from a mental illness," said CCP chair Brent Smith.
The walk is a moving message -- recovery is possible.
"We've all found a level of recovery that works for us and now we want to help other people find that recovery," Smith said.
The CCP is made up of people in the recovery community, Smith explains, who advise the county on its behavioral and mental health services.
"What works and what doesn't," Smith said.
"Some of us have had mental health experiences or recovery experiences, some of us just our family members or friends may have it," said panel member Sarah Leake.
On the one-mile circuit from Frontier Behavioral Health, which helps facilitate the event and provide a vendor space in the parking lot, walkers got the chance to connect with people along the route, some who leaned out of car windows while waiting on red lights to ask what was going on.
"What are you guys protesting?" one woman asked as the group walked by with signs.
"We advocating for mental health awareness," came the reply.
"Because we have gone through this together we are family," said panel member Sofia Alexander. "That's how I feel about it."
Smith says the pause on the walk due to the pandemic may have impacted participation; this year around ten people walked where the last march in 2019 pulled in around 25, he said.
The CCP also hopes the return of the jaunt will attract more members to the panel, which has about six of the normal 12 people right now.
More than anything, though, they want anyone who saw their signs to know there's help and support and hope at the end of the line.
"Being out there where everyone is and getting the word out there's resources out there," Leake said. "Follow us and we'll show you where they're at.
"Yes right, right?" said Alexander. "We can bring you to where it's a better life for you."
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