Community members took to the streets of downtown New Iberia Saturday morning to participate in the Bayou Side 5K, a run/walk to raise awareness for mental health.
The Bayou Side Run/Walk is a partnership of the Iberia Mental Health Initiative and Heart for Iberia, two local nonprofit organizations in Iberia Parish dedicated to improving the quality of life for citizens in our community, say Catherine Wattigny and Tripp Wright, organizers.
"During these challenging times, with the pandemic, we all need to have someone by our side to support us and this run will bring more attention to the importance of good mental health and also raise money for the work that the Iberia Mental Health Initiative does," Wattigny says.
The run followed Bayou Teche for much of the route, Wright says. Wattigny adds that exercise and getting outdoors is good for your mental health. Organizers hoped the event will be the largest run in New Iberia history.
"This is an example of what can be done when people work together," she said of the partnership.
KATC's Victor Jorges spoke with a mother this week who, along with her family and friends, participated in the run in honor of her daughter, who died at the age of 14.
“Her friends, my family, coworkers, nieces, nephews, sisters, brothers, they’re all to support in her memory,” said Roberts.
Participants say it's important for those who are suffering to know they're not alone.
"Mental health is around us. It affects families in many ways. We just want them to know we are by your side, we are here for you," said volunteer Eric Armentor. "And New Iberia in particular, we have this group now, we're going to have some funds to do good things in the future."