Volunteers raise mental health awareness during Mind Your Health event at Mall of America

Amid shoppers rushing around, mental health advocates tried to reach more youth and their families Saturday during the Mind Your Health event at Mall of America in Bloomington.

The special event aimed at youth mental health awareness provided community resources on bullying prevention, suicide prevention, and other mental health concerns.

At the SAVE table, a suicide awareness group, Kathy Roland was answering questions, handing out pamphlets and listening to those looking for help.

"It was such a shock," Roland said about her late son Dan. “He had everything going for him, never in a million years would you have thought he would have taken his own life."

Dan Roland graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2006, before he went to graduate school. The music lover and hockey fan was 24 years old at the time of his death in 2009.

Roland’s mother now volunteers at events across the Twin Cities to help families searching for answers and resources.

"I’ll tell you it’s so rewarding to try and help other people. That’s one thing if anything good can come of it,” Kathy Roland said. “We are now able to reach out and help others."

Several community groups, such as Mental Health Minnesota, Headway Emotional Health and NAMI-Minnesota, took part in the event to help families identify possible concerns.

"Trust your gut and try to get some help — it could be through a school social worker, could be through the pediatrician — but don’t let it simmer. If you’re worried there is probably something there; you should get it checked out," said Sue Abderholden, Executive Director NAMI-Minnesota.

Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan addressed the crowd during the event, sharing details of $1.2M in grants this year and next, to help schools across Minnesota address mental health concerns.

Flanagan said that the lack of school counselors in the state is an issue that needs to be addressed.