Tuesday, August 1, 2017

National Night Out 2017 "Taking Care of Our Mental Health"

My son and I ventured out to National Night Out this year. I learned about the event last year through the Durham CIT. I'm so glad we were able to attend this year. My son and I have partnered with Durham CIT to increase awareness and education of Autism and other Intellectual Disabilities for our local Police and First Responders. I could not have asked for a better response. Interactions between my son, local Police Officers and First Responders has been an eye opening experience for all involved. They get the opportunity to learn a little more about Autism and my son gets to learn about them. I also love that the Officers and First Responders are very engaging. They ask so many awesome questions and are eager to learn more. I see a great opportunity to get more people from the autism community to get involved with CIT. I hope we get enough participation to offer continuous education and interactions. After all, when you've met once person with autism...you've met one person with autism. One person cannot represent the entire autism community. I highly recommend getting in touch with your local CIT Chapter to see what you can do to help facilitate better relations between Officers, First Responders and people having Mental Illness, Intellectual Disabilities or Autism.

Getting Back to the event. National Night Out is a community event where attendees cab receive information from community partners regarding mental health and personal safety. Children get to explore the Emergency Response Station and interact with Local Officers and First Responders.

Here are a few pictures taken this evening. My son received a T-shirt from one of the officers and was able to hang out with a few firemen, police officers, CIT and mental health vendors.

Son getting T-shirt from Officer

Alliance Behavioral HealthCare

Durham CIT

Local First Responders, my son and a cute kid from the neighborhood
It was a great turnout. There was music, dancing, art contest, bouncy houses and food. All of the first responders were awesome and the vendors gave out great information. And my son really enjoyed himself. What more could you ask for in a community event... I'm looking forward to participating again next year.

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