RICHMOND, Va. -- The emotional fallout from the pandemic has been felt around the world. But mental health experts say you don't have to suffer alone.
Melissa Ackley, with Chesterfield Mental Health Support Services, and Pastor Kevin Skellet are members of the Chesterfield Suicide Awareness and Prevention Coalition.
Skellet is also involved with his church's Celebrate Recovery program.
Both know firsthand how mental health issues have impacted the Chesterfield community.
"We've seen quite an increase of people who are just looking for other coping skills, coping mechanisms for stress and things," Pastor Skellet said.
He said he's counseled people who have increased their dependence on alcohol and drugs.
"I've worked with several families who have experienced loss due to suicide as well," he said.
Both called the Southside Mental Health Fair scheduled for Saturday an important event.
"We're going to have a suicide prevention agency, we're going to have mental health agencies, we're going to have counselors, a lot of different resources," Pastor Skellet said.
Ackley wanted families to recognize the signs that someone they love may need mental health support.
"Withdrawal from people, things, or activities, that someone previously enjoyed. saying things and either saying out loud or saying on social media about, I just want this to be over. I can't handle this anymore. I want to die. Giving away possessions," said said.
As the community prepares to kick off Mental Health Awareness Month in May, the goal of the fair was to put as many resources as possible at the fingertips of people in need.
The Southside Mental Health Fair will be held outside at Southside Church on Saturday, May 1, from 10 a.m. until Noon.
Click here for more information about mental health services.
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-855.