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New mental health support group is free

Odessa American - 10/30/2023

Oct. 30—An Odessa speech therapist saw a need and plans to meet it with new mental health support groups on the first and third Monday of each month.

Morgan Cadena, who co-owns MOJO Speech Therapy in Odessa, said the idea came to her and she got her church, Tanglewood Baptist Church, on board.

"I'm a follower of Christ who also struggles with anxiety and depression," she said. "Several years ago I began looking for a mental health support group. I have seen the value of fellowship and community through my own church and through support groups for other needs. I did not find a support group solely for mental health, which surprised me, as it is obviously a need. And who better to support the broken than the church? So I decided to start one. And I found this organization called Fresh Hope, which sounded like everything that I was hoping and praying for. "

Fresh Hope Mental Health Support Group will begin meeting on the first and third Mondays of each month at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 6 at Tanglewood Baptist Church, 3737 Tanglewood Lane.

The groups are peer-led for those with a diagnosis and for their loved ones.

There is no cost for the support groups.

Cadena said attendees can expect peer-led facilitated support groups. "This will not be led by a professional counselor/therapist/doctor. Trained facilitators are typically people who are living with a mental health diagnosis of their own."

She said the group topics and discussions will be led or facilitated by a person who has experienced much of what the group members are going through.

She said what group sessions focus on will depend on the size of the group and preferences once the meetings begin on Monday. "Breakout sessions are recommended if it is a large group. It can be divided by diagnosis, or even by "those with a diagnosis" and "loved ones of those with a diagnosis."

Cadena said there is a need locally for support groups and that primarily she is seeing folks dealing with anxiety. "I speak to people daily who have walked or are walking journeys similar to mine. Reducing the stigma and getting churches and faith communities more comfortable with these topics has become a passion of mine. "

She said no one should suffer in silence or alone with dealing with mental health issues and encourages Odessans to come to these free events.

"If you have felt alone, isolated or stigmatized because of anxiety, depression, or any other mental health diagnosis, please know that you're not alone and that there is hope. These kinds of emotions make us feel as if no one else could possibly understand," Cadena said. "I promise, many understand, and more importantly, God understands. There is hope and joy in living in spite of a mental health diagnosis. That's what Fresh Hope is all about."

Call 432-638-1847 for more information.

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