For Mental Health Awareness Month, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is focusing on the message: “Together for Mental Health.”
Avalon Park Wesley Chapel, a premier master-planned community in Pasco County, supports this message everyday by providing a welcoming community for its residents that supports the creation of meaningful relationships with their neighbors.
“Feeling accepted and welcomed by being a part of a community is where a sense of belonging begins,” says Beat Kahli, president of Avalon Park Group.
“A strong social network is one of those things that may not seem important but can make a big difference when life gets hectic. When you know your neighbors, they often become friends that you can relax with and check in on you, in good and challenging times,” Kahli said.
With Avalon Park Wesley Chapel hosting routine events such as its “Movie Under the Stars,” quarterly festivals for the family (the next one is its July 4th festival), and monthly live jazz events, there are so many ways to stay in touch, face-to-face, with your neighbors.
Physical exercise also is another way to maintain good mental health, as it can provide focus, improve self-esteem, and help reduce anxiety and depression.
From taking a swim at Avalon Park Wesley Chapel’s community swimming pool, shooting hoops at the basketball courts, riding a bike through the trails, or playing with your dog at the community dog park, Avalon Park offers a wide range of ways to stay physically active.
Kahli’s wife, Jill, holds a Ph.D. in Psychology, so Kahli definitely understands the importance of mental health.
Kahli says he and his team continue to look for ways to improve the mental health opportunities for their community by adding programming that will create positive outlets for all needs. He recognizes that not everyone shares/responds to the same type of outlet to help with their mental health.
“This is why we are building Avalon Park to be programmed to provide outlets for all,” says Kahli. “From yoga in the park, youth sports, music and dance performances, art classes, local ministries and more, there will be something for everyone.”
One outlet that the residential community supports is local theater, which is a great way to practice expressing yourself and your emotions.
The residential community has partnered with The Wesley Chapel Theater Group, a group that provides theater for adults. Avalon Park Wesley Chapel allows the theater group to use its welcome center as its temporary home for all of the group’s meetings and rehearsals. The group’s artist director, Rodney Bueno, also is a resident of Avalon Park Wesley Chapel for the past five years.
“It’s definitely nice to bring something that I love to the community I live in,” says Bueno.
Kahli also believes giving back through community services helps with positive mental health.
“There are countless opportunities to give back and help in the community,” says Kahli. “I encourage you to look around to the local schools, nonprofits and service organizations to see where you can help the most.”
Avalon Park Wesley Chapel helps support local nonprofit and service organizations by bringing awareness to them through its monthly advertorial, Avalon Applauds, with The Laker/Lutz News. Featured nonprofits from the past include the Rotary Club of Wesley Chapel, The Stano Foundation (an organization dedicated to supporting troops of all branches, both active duty and veterans), and Hope Services (a service organization that seeks to find jobs for people living with disabilities).
Another way Avalon Park supports the message of “Together for Mental Health” is through the community-based nonprofit, ProjecThinkForward. According to its website, ProjecThinkForward is committed to promoting optimal health and wellness by changing the stigma surrounding mental health and connecting those in need with the right resources.
The nonprofit also has a podcast on Spotify called ThinkForward Podcast, where its executive director sits down with therapists to discuss various mental health conditions.
By coming together, the Avalon Park Wesley Chapel community can help all of its members feel a sense of place and belonging, and support a culture of strong mental health through the multiple resources it provides.
Published May 25, 2022