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MindFest brings mental health resources together Sunday in Louisville

People are inside a building, doing a downward-facing dog yoga pose. A woman directs class from the front of the room.
Courtesy of MindFest
Participants in 2022 MindFest practice yoga.

MindFest is a free festival that runs from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday and gives Louisvillians a space to grieve and practice self-care together at the Roots 101 African American History Museum.

People may not think of meditation and a soothing atmosphere when they hear the word “festival.” But at MindFest, Louisville’s mental health festival, that’s the goal.This is MindFest’s second year at the Roots 101 museum where it aims to unite mental health resources from across the city.

Emily Elizabeth Davis, founder and president, said she wanted to create an event that gives people a place for collective healing and growth.

“The energy that we're striving for is to just feel at ease when you come to our event, to feel seen, and to feel included,” Davis said. “This is an event about learning how to take care of yourself, this is an event for you.”

The festival includes panels, workshops, and live performances on self-care, therapeutic art and dealing with grief. There is also free childcare and activities for children as well as workshops on parenting with a mental health-forward mindset.

“Learning how to take care of yourself is crucial when you’re young,” Davis said. “It's not something that we're typically taught how to do from a young age, and it should be just the norm.”

Children attend a workshop at MindFest 2022.
Courtesy of MindFest
Children attend a workshop at MindFest 2022.

Davis said she struggled with ADHD, depression and anxiety from a young age. It was from talking about her own mental health journey that she learned about all of the resources already existing in Louisville – many people just need help finding and accessing them.

The number of resources present at the event have more than doubled compared to last year, Davis said, with over 60 vendors.

Davis said she came up with the idea for a mental health festival after seeing a need following the protests against the police killing of Breonna Taylor and systemic racial injustice. She said Louisville is once again in need of healing and collective grieving amid ongoing gun violence.

“Our community, ourselves included, just needed a space for healing drastically,” Davis said. “It's even more critical and important that we continue to push this narrative of normalizing speaking up about mental health.”

Davis says she knows that for many, just showing up to an event focused on mental health takes a lot of courage. Davis says she hopes the event will inspire people to seek some of the resources promoted at the event moving forward and make connections with others struggling with the same issues.

“[Mental health] is not something that people want to talk about. It's uncomfortable, it's triggering,” Davis said. “We wanted to create a space where people felt drawn to come, to potentially learn how to become more vulnerable.”

Sylvia is the Capitol reporter for Kentucky Public Radio, a collaboration including Louisville Public Media, WEKU-Richmond, WKU Public Radio and WKMS-Murray. Email her at sgoodman@lpm.org.