Jack London Square to Host ‘Snowflakes at the Waterfront,’ a Family-Friendly Holiday Event Highlighting the Importance of Mental Health

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Iconic Waterfront Dining and Recreation District Offers Selfies with Santa, a Free Concert by the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, and a Fun-Filled Scavenger Hunt

We wanted to create an upbeat event that was not only fun for the whole family, but also focuses on hope for the future.

Jack London Square, one of the Bay Area’s top dining, recreation and commercial districts (http://www.jacklondonsquare.com), today announced it will host a feel-good, holiday-themed event called “Snowflakes at the Waterfront” on Saturday, December 4th, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event, which features a host of fun-filled, family-friendly activities, will also give the community a chance to share messages of hope and love with one another. And, together with PEERS, an organization dedicated to mental health awareness and outreach, the Snowflakes at the Waterfront event will also shine a spotlight on the importance of de-stigmatizing mental illness, an important topic at this and every other time of year.

Free Concert + Fun Holiday Activities
The Snowflakes at the Waterfront event will feature a variety of upbeat, fun activities appropriate for the entire family, including selfies with Santa, a take-home kids snowflake craft, a beautiful giant snowflake photo station, a seek-and-find scavenger hunt for prizes, and free offers from Jack London Square tenants. One of the highlights of the event will be a festive seasonal concert by the famous Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, a dedicated group of gospel singers that use gospel music as a symbol of hope and faith in what can be accomplished when a diverse community works together toward a shared vision.

Continuing the event’s theme of hope and love during the holidays, guests will be asked to write their very own personal message of hope on foam snowflakes to be displayed at the Jack London Square waterfront throughout the holiday season. And caring PEERS members will present a special message about maintaining good mental health, particularly during times of difficulty.

“As many as one in four adults in America suffers from diagnosable mental health disorders at any given time, yet the stigma associated with mental health issues often causes people to resist asking for help,” says Heath McCue, CMD, Director, Retail Marketing for Jack London Square. “As we approach the holidays in what has been an incredibly stressful year for so many, we wanted to create an upbeat event that was not only fun for the whole family, but also focuses on hope for the future and encourages people suffering with mental health burdens to share their pain and ask for the help that can relieve it.”

“Everyone deserves to feel supported and empowered, and together with caring community partners like Jack London Square, it’s our goal to make that vision a reality,” says Trudie Giordano, Executive Director of PEERS. “Everyday stressors can lead people down a path toward mental illness, and the stigma surrounding mental health discussions and treatment can prevent them from seeking help. That’s why it is so important for us to address this topic at this time of year, during the holidays, which can be particularly trying times for those suffering under the weight of depression, anxiety or other mental illness.”

Facts About Mental Illness
Exacerbated by the COVID pandemic, rising costs and job losses, Americans are experiencing an enormous amount of anxiety and depression creating a virtual wave of mental health issues throughout the nation. Opening a dialogue that de-stigmatizes the discussion about mental illness is the first step in encouraging people to seek healing help. Today, in America, the statistics about mental illness are staggering:

-25%: Between one in four and one in five adults in America experience a mental illness each year.
-10M: Nearly 10 million Americans live with a serious mental illness.
-11 Years: The average delay between symptom onset and treatment is 11 years.
-17%: Nearly 17 percent of children (six to 17 years old) experience a mental health disorder annually.
-50%: Half of all chronic mental illnesses begin by the age of 14; three quarters by the age of 24.
-16M: As many as 16 million Americans are living with major depression.
-42M: Up to 42 million Americans live with anxiety disorders.

To help, PEERS advocates will be on hand during the Jack London Square “Snowflakes at the Waterfront” event to share information and resources for maintaining mental health despite the difficulties of these extraordinary times, and to call attention to the overwhelming need for better recognition, treatment and compassion for those suffering from mental health issues in this country.

The Snowflakes at the Waterfront event is free and open to the public.

Sources:
https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/mental-health-disorder-statistics
https://www.nami.org/nami/media/nami-media/infographics/generalmhfacts.pdf
https://www.nami.org/NAMI/media/NAMIMedia/Infographics/NAMI_YouAreNotAlone_2020_FINAL.pdf
https://www.nami.org/NAMI/media/NAMIMedia/Infographics/NAMI_MentalHealthCareMatters_2020_FINAL.pdf

About PEERS
PEERS is a community of caring people with diverse experiences working to confront society’s mental health stigma through peer-led support groups, workshops, and community outreach. The organization’s mission is to promote innovative peer-based wellness strategies through culturally rich, community-based mental health programs that eliminate stigma and discrimination for the residents of Alameda County. The group envisions a world where people can freely choose among many mental health options that address the needs of the whole person and where mental health experiences are valued for their essential contributions to society. To learn more, visit PEERS at https://peersnet.org/ or follow it on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

About Jack London Square
Situated along the estuary, Jack London Square is Oakland’s only publicly accessible mixed-use waterfront area and has been a well-known landmark since the mid-1880’s. With its rich history as the heart of Oakland’s port operations, Jack London Square is one of the Bay Area’s premier recreational, dining, and commercial districts. Jack London Square offers visitors and local residents an authentic, vibrant hub for dining, outdoor recreation, special events and entertainment options including 90’s Experience Museum, Ben & Jerry’s, BevMo, Bike East Bay, California Canoe & Kayak, Farmhouse Kitchen, Forge Pizza, Heinhold’s First and Last Saloon, Oakland Supply Co., Plank, Regal Cinema, Rosenblum Cellars, Scott’s Seafood, Seabreeze on the Dock, The Bay Trail, Visit Oakland, Waterfront Hotel, Yoshi’s Oakland, and more. To learn more, visit the Jack London Square website at http://www.jacklondonsquare.com or follow Jack London Square on Facebook and Instagram.

Media Contacts:

Deborah Blackford
Blackford & Associates
blkfrdpr@gmail.com
714-280-8765

Karen Franse
Blackford & Associates
karenfranse@gmail.com
386-649-1887

Carmen Herlihy
Blackford & Associates
cherlihypr@gmail.com
646-770-2623

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Deborah Blackford
Blackford and Associates
714-280-8765
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