5K participants raise mental health awareness

Participants in the ninth Lite Up The Nite 5K ran or walked through Manchester’s Livingston Park Thursday night in bright colors, sending a loud message about the importance of mental health.

“We love it. It’s very colorful and we’re the only one of its kind in the state. We created this event to give the community an opportunity to come out and show their support for people who struggle each day with mental illness,” Sandra Seney, of the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester, said.

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The Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester launched this tradition, urging people to talk about struggles with issues like depression and anxiety and raising awareness and funds for some programs that receive no state aid.

“We have to find ways to raise money for people who can’t afford it or fall through the cracks or whatever the issue is. We don’t turn people away from treatment because they can’t pay,” Rik Cornell, of the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester, said.

The runners and walkers were motivated by the message.

“One of my friends, she told me about it. Sounded like a good cause and I like running, so it all just kind of turned out well,” Portsmouth’s Tyler Couett, the first-place male finisher, said.

“I’m a clinical social so I live my life trying to break the stigma and improve the lives of everyone out there who is suffering,” Amy Mercier, of Hooksett, said.

The proceeds help with outreach and support services for children and adults to put them on the path toward recovery.