ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – May is mental health awareness month. It’s a month dedicated to raise awareness about mental health and to fight stigma, show support, educate the public, and advocate for the millions of people affected by mental health in the United States.

The social connection club located at 454 W. Church St., is a mental health peer run social club. It’s a place where people can meet for guidance, mutual support, socialization and recreation.

“The design of this program was essentially to be a consumer run program where folks would be able to interact and engage with their peers to receive support and create positive friendships,” said social connections club facilitator Marcie Rice. “We also offer a safe and welcoming environment for mental health consumers in our community.”

The social connection club offers both structured and unstructured programming. People have the opportunity to stop in at their leisure and enjoy things like pool, a cup of coffee, arts and crafts, surf the Internet, and much more. They also have several events on their calendar that you can choose to participate in as well as several different resources throughout the community they bring right to social connection.

Members of the social connection club say this place has helped them in times they needed most.

“I found a lot of support here. There are people here who really understand what it’s like to deal with psych symptoms when you’re having a bad time,” said former member and current peer staff member Kelly Wythee. “I was a member for a few years. It really helped to have support and a place to hang out and talk to people or you know, just be around people.”

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in 5 Americans live with a mental health condition. Not only during May, but during every month, it’s important we recognize the prevalence of mental health in our society and remind people they are not alone.

“A lot of times people will focus on our physical health but we all have mental health,” Marcie explained. “We all have good days and bad days and if you are able to look in an empathetic or compassionate way it allows for just progression in life for every individual.”

If you are interested in learning more about the social connection, you can do so here.

Below is the social connection’s event schedule for the month of May.