Mental health emphasis of free health fair

Staff reports

Plymouth Rock Baptist Church and the Iberville Parish Ministers Conference have joined with Family Service of Greater Baton Rouge to offer a free public health fair from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, September 28, at Plymouth Rock.

Family Services will use the Second Annual Health Fair, called “Your Mind and Body Matters, will introduce health and mental health to the local community.

Motivational speakers, local physicians and counselors will offer information on dealing with challenging life issues, including stress management, suicide prevention, depression and domestic abuse prevention strategies.

Blood pressure screenings will be available. The Baton Rouge AIDS Society will offer free HIV testing.

The fair will include activities for children and young people, and food and drink for all participants, as well as door prizes.

Since many local residents find it difficult to go to Family Service's Baton Rouge offices, the organization is using the fair to introduce its services here, according to Selmin Sipahi, clinical director of child and family counseling for Family Services.

“We plan to begin individual counseling services, as well as Domestic Abuse Intervention services in collaboration with [district attorneys], judges and other community providers, such as the battered women's shelters,” she said.

Plymouth Rock officials cited the closing of the local hospital and recent suicides as its motivation for partnering with Family Services to address mental health needs here.

The church, known as “Freedom Rock” has been a “cornerstone to historical movements, political involvement and spiritual leadership,” they said in a news release. “This community church functions as the central resource to the parish, disseminating information and resources to local churches and businesses, community organizations, political leaders and educational institutions throughout Iberville.”

Other sponsors of the event include Coca-Cola, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center and gospel recording artist Alcide Simmons.

Plymouth Rock Baptist Church is located at 58830 Iron Farm Road, Plaquemine.