Interview with our Event Services Director, Brandon Pugh. Interview conducted by Erin Cronin.
ERIN: What is the DeKalb County Day of Love?
BRANDON: A group within the DeKalb Chamber Of Commerce’s Leadership Academy class is hosting the Dekalb County Day Of Love on April 9th from 11am – 3pm at the Egyptian Theatre. This event will serve as a Mental Health Awareness Day which features a Mental Health Resource Fair and Panel Discussions on different Mental Health topics. The panel discussions will begin at noon. There will be several organizations present to provide information for those caring for someone going through a Mental Health crisis, someone who may be struggling themselves, or just general information. This event is open to everyone and is free to attend.
E: How is the Egyptian Theatre helping with this day?
B: The Egyptian Theatre has been so gracious to allow us to host our event at their venue! The Egyptian is very recognizable within DeKalb County which we think is key to attracting people to our event. Not only will patrons be surrounded by likeminded people, they have the opportunity to be somewhere that they have been before. Anyone with anxiety can tell you – visiting somewhere completely new is often times a trigger. To be able to host the event in a recognizable location, for many, is key to the success of the event! Not only that, the Egyptian Theatre, as they often do, was able to discount the rental cost for us as this is our first time hosting this event. We hope to be able to return the favor by bringing in decent foot traffic for the event! The Egyptian’s very own, Peter Lindsey, will be in the lobby providing live music for attendees leading up to the panel discussion.
E: What will people have access to at this event?
B: This event is meant to serve as a resource fair, where attendees have access to different community organizations whose focus is lifting up individuals to be the best versions of themselves. Attendees of the event will have access to the following organizations and their wealth of knowledge:
- DeKalb County Mental Health Board
- Adventure Works
- Kishwaukee United Way
- NAMI of DeKalb Co
- Elder Care Services
- 40,000 Steps (This Is My Brave)
- DeKalb Police Station
- Braden Counseling
- Nikki Greer (mental health awareness jewelry) & Opportunity House
- DeKalb Area Women’s Center
- Family Service Agency
- AID (Association for Individual Development)
- Safe Passage
- Greater Family Health
- Westsides Children’s Therapy
- Balanced Acupuncture
E: Who will be on the panel and what will they be discussing?
B: The following organizations will have a representative on the panel: Adventure Works, NAMI of DeKalb County, Illinois National Guard, Braden Counseling, and 40,000 Steps/This Is My Brave. Topics being discussed that day will include, but are not limited to: depression & anxiety, substance abuse, grief & loss as well as general questions, such as: What is the overall economic effect on the workplace due to mental health issues? How can you support someone with mental health issues when they tell you they don’t need or want your assistance? How can I support my co-workers who are directly experiencing a mental health issue? How can I support my family member who is experiencing a mental health crisis?
We realize that speaking publicly in front of an audience is also often a trigger for many people when it comes to anxiety, which is why we will have a question box available in the lobby ahead of the panel discussion – to allow anyone the opportunity to drop a question in ahead of time. We will also open the floor up for discussion and question. We do not want anyone to feel pressured or that they do not have a fair chance at getting a question answered. We very much look forward to this event and hope if you are reading this, that you too can join us for a first of its kind event on Saturday, April 9 at 11am at the Egyptian Theatre in downtown DeKalb, IL!