NEAR SCIENCE: Good for what stressed communities | News, Sports, Jobs

NEW ULM – May is Mental Health Awareness Month and this year the need for mental health education and services has been greater than ever.

Mental Health Month was established in 1949 to raise awareness of the importance of mental health and well-being in American lives and to celebrate recovery from mental illness.

After more than two years of societal disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic, several Brown County organizations are working to promote the month this year.

Mental Health Awareness Month is represented by a green ribbon. Green ribbons will be on display throughout the month at the Community Service Building, 1117 Center St. and the Brown County Drop-in Center, 1113 Center St.

From 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 3, the Heart of New Ulm Brown County Mental Health and Wellbeing Action Team, in partnership with the Families First Collaborative of Brown County, will offer a presentation entitled “Understanding NEAR Science: Building Self-Healing Communities.”

The presentation covers the fundamentals of NEAR science – which stands for Neurobiology, Epigenetics, Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) and Resilience – a study of the relationship between health risks and behaviors associated with adverse childhood experiences. People who experienced abuse, neglect, or household disturbances as children were more likely to have an increased risk of chronic health conditions and death, as well as increased involvement in risky behaviors.

Further research has shown that experiences such as racism, neighborhood safety, community violence, bullying and being in foster care can increase the likelihood of increased health risks.

In recent decades, research has expanded into what can be done to prevent adverse childhood experiences and how people can overcome their experiences to lead healthy and safe lives.

The Building Self-Healing Communities presentation is designed to stimulate an ongoing community-wide conversation between professionals, law enforcement, parents, faith leaders, educators and neighbors on how to transform the narrative of the future of communities.

That “Understanding NEAR Science: Building Self-Healing Communities” the presentation is free and open to the public; However, space is limited and registration is required. Information and registration can be found at

Similar presentations have been held in Brown County before, but few public health presentations have been possible due to the COVID pandemic. The pandemic also created a greater need for mental health services as many were impacted by the health crisis.

The Brown County Local Advisory Committee is hosting a Mental Health Walk on Tuesday, May 17 at Harman Park in New Ulm. The walk is open to anyone who wants to show their support for mental health in the community. Registration for the walk is at 12:30 PM at Harman Park. There will be two routes to accommodate different physical abilities. Following the walk, professional speakers will share their knowledge and experience related to mental health recovery.

The Local Advisory Committee consists of members of the public, professionals and providers with an interest in mental health and support in the county. The committee’s goal is to spark a conversation about mental health, advocacy, fighting stigma, and creating a supportive community for those struggling with their mental health.

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