What We Learned About Mental Health Awareness in Dallas, Texas

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Last Saturday, we had our first Wide Wonder event. For one year, our family had visualized what this day would look like and now it was here.


Tim drove the Wide Wonder bus around a curve and maneuvered it into the parking lot at Tyler Station. We had finally arrived at the starting place where we knew there was no turning back on our decision to spend one year traveling the United States to inspire ourselves, others, and gain new perspectives on mental health and addictions.


Nick Lokken’s glorious music set the tone for our event, which was sponsored by our friends and partners at the Eating Recovery Center and Insight Behavioral Health. One by one, as the Dallas rain poured down, our tribe of advocates arrived: people from the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), employees from Cigna, and employees from the local Veteran’s hospital. They all came not only to listen but to share their experiences and resources. People in recovery from all mental health issues and addictions came, too. 


Soon, it was time for Tim and me to speak, and we felt supported by the passions and hopes of our audience. If anyone is anything like me, they will think that they have to present a perfect presentation and know all the answers and, as always, I learned yet again that never ever is this journey one person’s responsibility.


At our first ever event in Dallas TX, we spoke to those going through mental health struggles who had not told anyone. We talked with organizations that advocate for mental health and provide exceptional services to treat it; however, too many people are still buying into the stigma that mental health is a hush-hush issue. We got up close and personal with the happy faces that hide true trauma, and we hugged a lot of people.


As we prepare for our next event in Austin, we are not surprised that—just like our audience—we are also learning along the way that we are not alone. There are many, many people fighting this good fight to change the way our society views and treats mental illnesses. 

 There are near 6.5 million Texans struggling with mental health ailments that will benefit from treatment.

Recovery and change don’t happen alone. 

If you are in the Austin area, please join us on February 23. If you are struggling or fighting the good fight for mental health awareness, we want to meet you. 

Together, we can make a difference!

Special thank you to Katie Bendel, Carol Dworaczk for all your efforts to make this event happen!