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Davis Journal

Centerville Cares promotes physical and mental wellbeing in the community

Apr 08, 2022 12:38PM ● By Becky Ginos

CENTERVILLE—Anxiety and depression have been on the rise for the last two years, but even before the pandemic, children and adults have suffered with these challenges. Centerville Cares, a grass roots nonprofit's mission is to improve the physical and mental wellness of the community and create a message of hope regarding youth suicide prevention.

“We’ve made videos of adults who have been through these things who are making it,” said Centerville Cares Chair Stephen Merrell, MD, MPH. “There are war vets who suffer with PTSD, Rob Eastman who turned to drugs and alcohol in high school and Alema Harrington who was addicted to prescription drugs. We decided we wanted to broaden that for a message of hope to youth. Suicide is the leading cause of death for youth in Utah.”

Centerville Cares’ mission statement is “Supporting each other through life’s challenges,” said Merrell. “It’s about coming together as a community.”

The group offers classes that promote mental and physical wellbeing and have a 5k fun run planned for May 21 at Centerville Community Park. “It’s a great opportunity to get families outdoors,” he said. “Strollers are more than OK. We hope through the fun run we can continue providing courses to spread that message of hope.”

The class up next is “Powerful Brain, Healthy Body” taught by Brent Hale, PH.D, and Sinead Urwin, Functional Nutritionist. It starts April 28 and goes through May 19 at City Hall from 6:30-8 p.m.

“If you help the brain be healthy it will make the body healthy,” Merrell said. “When you roll out of bed and exercise you have a better lens to look through in life and can make changes in the things you do. It’s an evidence based class. It’s not just a good idea.”

The previous class focused on risk factors for anxiety and depression, he said. “It addressed these in a natural way such as mindfulness, meditation and exercise. But it also emphasized medications and treatment if needed. It was a well rounded approach to being healthy.”

Centerville Cares’ message to youth is that there are peers around them who are supportive and willing to be with them, said Merrell. “You can’t make the challenges go away simply because you want them to, but we can support each other through it.”

The group is made up of volunteers, he said. “People like myself, the police, the youth council mayor and local citizens. They’re all individuals who have donated their time and expertise. Any interested persons should reach out. We want concerned individuals at the table.”

The fun run starts at 9 a.m. and it’s $25 with a T-shirt and $20 without, said Merrell. “There will be prizes and we do welcome families.”

To register go to Centerville Community Park is located at 1350 N. 400 West. 

“Neighbors and citizens are tired of the gloomy stories we keep hearing,” Merrell said. “They need to reach out and support each other so we can have the healthiest community possible.” l