Participants strut their enthusiasm at 2016 Sunset Beach Walk. (Monie Photography)

The Mental Wellness Center will kick off Mental Health Month in May with its 6th Annual 5K Walk for Mental Wellness on Friday, May 5, at East Beach Bathhouse, 1118 E. Cabrillo Blvd., Santa Barbara.

The Sunset Beach Walk will begin with an opening ceremony at 5 p.m.

Community members are invited to join the nonprofit’s efforts to change the perception of mental health by stomping out stigma at the annual Sunset Beach Walk.

“Taking care of our mental well-being is important for all of us, no matter what stage we are in our lives, and a long walk along the beach with our wonderful community is a great way to do just that,” said Annmarie Cameron, the center’s CEO.

“For 70 years, the Mental Wellness Center has been invested in building a community of wellness and helping people better understand mental illness,” she said.

“Our 5K Sunset Beach Walk aims to bring people together in an effort to combat the stigma which too often prevents those who are living with mental health conditions from seeking necessary treatment.”

This year, the Mental Wellness Center is teaming up with the San Marcos High School Wellness Connection and the SBCC Wellness Connection to co-host the 5K.

In February, the organizations announced a partnership to bolster local support and peer mentoring among students and further promote student health and wellness education on high school campuses.

Registration for the walk is now open. Individuals and teams can register online at, by calling 884-8440, or at the event from 4-5 p.m.

Participants are welcome to stay after the walk for dinner, a raffle, and live music featuring Upstream, a reggae and Caribbean music band.

The walk-only registration fee is $25 and full-event registration is $50, which includes an event t-shirt, raffle ticket and dinner provided by East Beach Grill. Student registration is $20 with student ID.

Funds raised will benefit the Mental Wellness Center, a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing support, education and direct services to individuals and families in Santa Barbara affected by mental illness.

For more information about the Walk for Mental Wellness, visit

— Daniella Alkobi Mental Wellness Center.