On Saturday, October 3, the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery (FCMoD) will debut a new special exhibit designed to bring awareness to a topic that touches our lives each day. Mental Health: Mind Matters, presented by Larimer County Behavioral Health Services, will use unique hands-on interactive and immersive multimedia activities to give visitors of all ages a memorable, impactful experience exploring mental health and its prevalence and impact in society. It will also provide a safe space to have important conversations about a subject that some see as taboo. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 18% of American adults live with mental illness. The key to building better lives for those who live with mental illness is threefold: we must understand that mental illnesses affect nearly one in five people, they can affect anyone, and they are treatable.

Mental Health: Mind Matters will build understanding and awareness by giving visitors the opportunity to see how mental illness has been treated in the past, as well as the chance to better understand what it’s like to live with mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. It will also connect them with valuable resources to help them better their own mental health and support those with mental illness who are close to them. The exhibit experience is trilingual, with information presented in English, Spanish, and French.

“Access to mental health resources is vitally important,” says Laura Valdez, Executive Director of the Nonprofit Partner at FCMoD. “When it comes to mental health, the first step toward understanding and acceptance is conversation. In taking this first step, we can have honest and open conversations about mental health – with our family, our friends, our classmates, and our community. Conversations around mental health were important before this year and are even more so now.”

“This exhibit is a safe space for learning about mental health and mental illnesses in an educational, approachable, hands-on way,” stated Cheryl Donaldson Moses, Executive Director of the City Partner at FCMoD, adding that “equitable access to Mental Health: Mind Matters is a priority for the museum.” Thanks to the presenting sponsor, Larimer County Behavioral Health Services, along with additional sponsorship from the City of Fort Collins, Bohemian Foundation, Waterpik, and the Hach Center for Regional Engagement, both the exhibit and the museum are free to experience. Laurie Stolen, Director of Larimer County Behavioral Health Services, says: “It’s essential to engage all community members in ways they can support their family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues who are navigating mental health challenges. In this upcoming work, building empathy and understanding is of utmost importance. Fort Collins Museum of Discovery is providing a crucial resource to do so with this exhibit.”

In Mental Health: Mind Matters, visitors will:

· Peek into toy theater sets and listen to audio recordings that depict what life was like for people with mental illness in different places around the world and at different points in history.

· Explore the symptoms, causes, and treatments of common mental illnesses like anxiety disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, bipolar disorder and more.

· Test their mental health knowledge and discover that mental illness are similar to other illnesses in many ways.

· Don noise distorting headphones to experience the difficulties some people with symptoms of psychosis experience if they’re unable to filter out some of the sounds that surround them.

· Enter the living room of a man with depression and hear his inner dialog, along with the perspectives of his close family members.

· Play an emotion recognition game that invites them to act out an emotion using only facial expressions. They’ll discover that it’s a challenging task, and it’s even more challenging for other visitors to interpret. And much more.

Find more information HERE.