“All Brains Belong” Community Health Challenge

MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) – What damage has the pandemic done to the mental and emotional health of Vermonters? Melissa Houser of the non-profit organization ‘All Brains Belong’ said: “Although there is no brain by default, many things in society are offered by default. Like one size fits all for health care, education, employment.”

Houser launched his nonprofit “All Brains Belong Vermont” amid the pandemic to bring together and promote the well-being of people with all types of neurological and behavioral disorders. Due to the stress caused by Covid, Houser wanted to find a way to have open conversations about mental health issues that everyone could participate in.

“It’s about integrating the principles of what our organization does into the rest of the community,” Houser said.

The organization calls this event its Community Health Education Fair. The day offered a drive-through clinic for children who might need to play with toys while getting their shots. They also had a variety of vendor wives who specialized in mental health practices. During the fair, many speakers talked about how to stay safe at school, bullying prevention and, of course, mental health.

“Nobody really wants to talk about being bullied or the bully. It’s hard for both parties,” said Adrienne Gil from Montpellier.

Adrienne Gil said someone close to her had a horrible experience in middle school because she was bullied, and she’s here today to try to talk about how to fix that in schools.

“It’s a really tough conversation to have and get out into the public, and to be vulnerable to let people know. But my daughter thought it was extremely important to have this conversation,” Gil commented.

Houser says the goal of organizations in having this open conversation is to get people to reinvent the systems of our society so that they are more aware of how others might react to them, Matt Mulligan said he was diagnosed with a learning disability at the age of 40 and now he knows his differences are acceptable.

“There are so many systems in the world that tell people who are neurodivergent or different in some way that they need to be fixed,” Barre’s Mulligan said.

“All Brains Belong” hopes this event can inspire more conversations in our communities about people with different issues for the future.

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