Unmasking "mental health" stigma fundraiser features a special guest

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Valeo Behavioral Health Care hosts their 3rd annual fundraiser on Saturday, Unmasking Stigma benefit to continue raising mental health awareness.

(WIBW/Danielle Martin)

"There's nothing to be ashamed of," Board of Directors of Valeo, Frank Henderson Jr. said.

The organization emphasizes sharing personal stories, because when it comes to mental health many people are ashamed of their own story, not knowing it can save a life.

"The stigma that many times associated with mental health disorder, as well as substance use disorders," Henderson explains.

The event was to spread awareness on unmasking the things that are not easy to speak about.

"We want people to realize that we need to remove that mask," Henderson said. "We need to be real and recognize that there people that are among us and they are in need of assistance."

The night included a live and silent auction, live entertainment and 13's NEWS Melissa Brunner emceed the event.

Darryl Strawberry, a 4-time World Series baseball player was the National Keynote Speaker for the event and he shared his testimony on how far he's come.

"People do go through struggles no matter how famous they get," Strawberry said.

Strawberry said that he believes his story was meant for others to hear.

"I was that person that felt I needed to share with society that people do hurt no regardless how success they are," he said. "I think when your life has changed its important to go back to let other know your life can change too."

Darryl Strawberry hoped his message encourages people to ask for help. Mayor Michelle DeLa Isla and Matt Pivarnik were also speakers for the event.

"I'm trying to teach them that it's okay for people to struggle and go through things but we as a people, we have to rally around them, and we can help them and we can help people get back on the right track," Strawberry said.

During the evening, Dr. Walt Menninger was honored the Hope Humanitarian Award and Chef Adam VanDonge was honored the
Mental Health Awareness Warrior Award.

To learn more information on Valeo's stigma-free Behavioral Health Care, click here.