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April 6, 2021

Event to focus on mental health, substance abuse

Jan Brown and Chris Herren on April 7 will discuss the pandemic’s effects on mental health and substance abuse .
As social-distancing and quarantine have become vital tools to control the spread of COVID-19, many folks have become more vulnerable to loneliness, mental health issues and social isolation.
— PATH President/CEO Christy Connolly
The Warrenton-based PATH Foundation on April 7 will present virtual “Community Conversation” on mental health and substance abuse in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic

The event will feature Rev. Jan Brown and Chris Herren, both with years of personal and professional experience in the recovery community.

A former NBA player and nationally-known recovery advocate, Mr. Herren founded Herren Wellness, which operates residential centers in Massachusetts and one near Warrenton, which opened last fall.

An addiction educator, Rev. Brown founded the SpiritWorks Foundation, which provides recovery services.

Veteran journalist Randy Rieland, who wrote the 2019 “Opioid Ripples” series, will moderate the discussion.

The panelists will discuss the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and substance abuse in people of all ages. They will share tips on how to recognize signs of mental health issues and substance abuse issues in yourself, friends or loved ones, and how to take the first step to getting help.

This webinar will take place as quarantine and isolation have led to an increase in mental health issues for many populations.

“The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been far-reaching,” PATH President/CEO Christy Connolly said. “As social-distancing and quarantine have become vital tools to control the spread of COVID-19, many folks have become more vulnerable to loneliness, mental health issues and social isolation.

“A lot of people need help and many don’t know where to turn. We’re providing this online discussion to help those in need as well as their family members. It has been a challenging time for all of us.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a December survey found 42 percent of respondents reported symptoms of anxiety or depression. Only 11 percent of those surveyed reported the same symptoms in the first six months of 2019.

“It is important, especially now, to be proactive in our approach to mental health, so we can best support our loved ones and our community’s overall wellness,” Ms. Connolly said.

Free and open to the public, the Community Conversation take place via Zoom at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 7.

You can register and learn more at

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