Rosewood ‘Wellness Fair’ educates and entertains

Find out how this event helped attendees learned about health, both mental and physical …

Here in the Centennial neighborhood, on the eastern edge of outer East Portland at Rosewood, community members are invited to the Community Health and Wellness Fair.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

More than 36 organizations and providers were at Rosewood the afternoon of May 1, providing information during their first Community Health and Wellness Fair.

Those who came were provided health screenings, resource connection, massage, OHP enrollments, free snacks, and raffle prizes – not only in English – but also in Arabic, Chuukese, Russian, and Spanish, thanks to translators.

Welcoming guests is Rosewood Community Wellness Coordinator Liz Fernley.

“As part of our event, we’re welcoming the month of May, as ‘Mental Health Awareness Month’ here,” said the organizer, Rosewood Community Wellness Coordinator Liz Fernley.

“We wanted a mental health emphasis in our wellness fair because we know mental health resources are often lacking in our community; and, mental health issues have a stigma that my prevent people from reaching out in times of need,” Fernley told East Portland News.

Three dozen organizations come to Rosewood to share knowledge with community members.

“Suicide is the ninth leading cause of death among Oregonians in 2016, and it’s definitely a preventable public health problem,” Fernley continued. “But toward making it preventable, we need to talk about mental health, and we need to get together, overcome the stigma through conversation, and make sure that people are comfortable with getting resources that they need to.”

In addition to dental and physical health screening, HIV rapid testing, blood pressure screening, and depression and anxiety screening – one definite attraction was the Franz Bread grilled cheese truck parked outside, offering free hot snacks.

“Patient” Natalie Bergmann gets a dental soft-tissue screening from Maddie Woolley; both are students in the Clark College Dental Hygiene program.

Puppeteers and story tellers Jennifer Kemp, with “Angel”, and Ryan Nakano, playing “Anjali” with Communities for Kids – a program of Impact NW – present a story about how to be welcoming in a diversified environment, and ways people can come together.

“What we hope people take away from this today is that they’ll start a conversation – talk with their family, their friends, and their neighbors – about mental health issues, as if they were just talking about a broken arm,” Fernley said.

And, although the fair was over that evening, people could continue to find health-related help at their community center, Fernley observed. “We have two ‘navigators’ here at Rosewood, along with myself, who help community members reach resources that they need.”

Portland Police Bureau Sunshine Division Data and Client Services Coordinator Jason Millenson tells visitors about the services they provide.

Find out more about the many programs and services offered at Rosewood by checking their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

 

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