This Sunday, nearly 250 walkers and runners will show support for those living with mental illness by participating in the Second Annual Walk/Run for Mental Wellness.

The 5K/10K Walk/Run will take place at 8:30 a.m. at Lower Manning Park in Montecito. The Walk/Run supports the Fellowship Club at the Mental Wellness Center, Santa Barbara’s only rehabilitation and social center for adults and families affected by mental illness.

Why We’re Walking: Ashley’s Story

Ashley is a client of the Mental Wellness Center who is living with mental illness. Ashley attends The Fellowship Club most days it’s open, and she works in the Care Closet, a clothing store run for and by Mental Wellness Center clients.

Ashley is a Fellowship Club member because it is a safe and supportive place for her to focus on her path to recovery. She has many friends at The Fellowship Club who are also living with mental illness, and they provide a support system for one another, along with the resources provided by trained mental health professionals at the club.

She doesn’t have to worry about other people judging her when she’s there, and she’s able to work on skills that allow her to lead a more independent life despite her illness.

Ashley and the other members of the Fellowship Club hope the Walk/Run for Mental Wellness will help raise much needed funds to keep the club open five days a week, with the ultimate goal for it to stay open seven days a week.

Please show your support for Ashley and other people in our community who are living with mental illness by participating in the Walk/Run for Mental Wellness or by making a donation.

Individuals and teams can register for the Walk/Run by clicking here or by calling 805.884.8440. Participants may also register at the event. Registration is $40 for general participants and $25 for students and clients of the Mental Wellness Center, with 100 percent event registration fees going to support The Fellowship Club at the Mental Wellness Center.

— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist representing the Mental Wellness Center.