Event was open to public for awareness and education on ways to live healthier lives
By Dan McWilliams
More than 225 people attended a Health and Mental Wellness Expo Aug. 19-20 at All Saints Church in Knoxville, where speakers and a number of resources were available to help them.
Christine Lucheon of All Saints organized the expo.
“This is about bringing awareness to the community about different resources that are available to treat mental-health disorders,” she said.
“It’s about how we incorporate our physical and mental and spiritual health into one healthy, human person. Part of the reason for doing this is to bring that to the forefront and really make All Saints and our community just a very approachable place to let people know that we’re here to support them in every way possible, and if we can’t do it to be able to guide them to resources out there that are available to them,” she added.
“It’s about awareness. It’s about reducing the stigma about mental health, whether it be mental-health problems or mental-health illness—they’re two distinct, different things. It’s about education as well, because the more people are educated about this, the less stigma there is about it and the more people will feel free to talk about it,” Mrs. Lucheon continued.
Speakers included Zack Kramer, owner of Trinity Strength, on “The Holy Spirit, Holy Breath & Your Health”; Deacon Robert Rust on trauma healing and anxiety-relieving tools; Joey Wenning on “Marriage Connection: Why Connection Is Important and How to Increase It in Your Marriage”; Allison Maurer on “General and Sports Nutrition—What Do You Know?”; Allison Lowe on “What Is Intuitive Eating?”; Father Michael Maples, Ph.D., on “Friends in Need: What Helps and What Doesn’t”; and Dr. Lisa Padgett on “Children and Their Mental Health.”
“We’ve got quite a few nutrition speakers, because it’s not a well-known fact but nutrition has a great deal of effect on your mental as well as your physical health,” Mrs. Lucheon said. “That was part of the reason for those speakers. We tried to make it a broad variety of topics. We’re not here with treatment today; it’s more about awareness so that people can seek treatment if they need it or simply just learn how to be a better friend to somebody and support people around us in the Church, because we’re called to be supportive in the Body of Christ, and hopefully all these things will help us to better do that.”
In Dr. Padgett’s talk, she revealed that anxiety affects approximately 20 percent of children and teens and depression 10 percent of children and adolescents.
Suicide is the second-leading cause of death in those 10 to 24 years of age, she said. A total of 1.5 million children ages 3-17 struggled with anxiety or depression during the first year of the pandemic, she said.
Mr. Wenning’s “Marriage Connection” talk told of how contact with a loving partner literally acts as a buffer against shock, stress, and pain. He said that when God created us, He hard-wired a desire to connect, to attach, and to love in our souls.
Ms. Lowe defined eating disorders and disordered eating, examined the scope of the problem of eating disorders, and identified the 10 principles of “intuitive eating.”
Outside of All Saints during the expo were food trucks, the St. Mary’s Legacy Clinic, and two Rural Metro fire trucks for children. Inside were booths on caregiver support, grief support, Overeaters Anonymous, and many more.