Arizona Palooza shares resources to community to end mental health stigma

Arizona Palooza shares resources to community to end mental health stigma
Published: May. 6, 2023 at 7:15 PM MST|Updated: May. 6, 2023 at 7:28 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - The University of Arizona held their sixth annual Arizona Palooza at Reid Park, hosting dozens of organizations from Tucson to promote public health.

The event was led by Camp Wellness, a program from U of A’s Health Science Department of Family and community medicine. The goal of the event was to share resources about mental health and to end the stigma surrounding it.

Stands at the palooza touched on different aspects of mental health, with groups discussing where you can get help, to clinics sharing their services on recovering from drug use.

J. Luque from Community Medical Services knows firsthand how difficult it is to recover from opioid addiction. Now, he’s working as a clinic manager, helping others recover from substance abuse.

“I was actually incarcerated and when I was released, I had the dependence on opioids and I wasn’t able to get treatment from those things,” said Luque.

“Throughout my journey, I was able to find an MAT program, which provides medication assisted treatment, so I was able to get counseling and medication. And now, I’m happy to say that I can used my lived experience to help other people in their journey,” he said.

The event also gave an opportunity to shine a light on other issues involving mental health like hunger and homelessness in Tucson. The Lot on 22nd provides those in need with food and supplies to stay fed and safe.

“It’s really nice to be able to share what we do with people that have never heard about us before and really be happy that we are there to help them,” said Arianna Jimenez, director of Lot on 22nd.

“Some people that don’t have access to food, people that are on the verge of homelessness… now they know about us and they can visit us if they like,” she says.

The Arizona Palooza also served as a networking opportunity for the organizations. Luque, Jiminez and others shared information with each other, to be able to assist a person in need with more resources than what is normally available.

“Collaborating with other providers is really imperative for me because we’re very small and sometimes we don’t get noticed,” says Jimenez. “I really like other providers to come out and see what we do so they can share their resources with our clientele.”

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