Our Lady of Perpetual Help held its annual Health & Wellness Fair at the church on Sunday, which featured resources and information from local health care agencies.
The event was done in coordination with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the L.A. County Department of Mental Health, the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center and Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital — the latter of which held several lectures on various health topics throughout the day.
Attendees could also get a free flu shot or a COVID–19 vaccine. Administering the flu shots was Charmine Navarro, a registered nurse at Henry Mayo.
Navarro said that in the wake of the pandemic, people have become complacent toward the flu and immunization from it. As COVID cases and deaths decline, the flu still poses a threat — killing between 12,000 and 50,000 people per year in the United States since 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
“As part of that, you know, our local community hospital, we want to make sure our community is covered and understands the importance of vaccines… we want to make sure that every community event we can go (to), that we have the vaccines available. “
Maggie Halloway, the fair’s organizer and a former nurse, said there are a wide range of health issues the community needs to be aware of, including basic things like checking your body mass index and getting your blood pressure checked, but also the rise in fentanyl overdoses and deaths.
In accordance with this, the event also featured a lecture on fentanyl and distributed naloxone, commonly known by the brand name Narcan.
Halloway also said a partnership with the Department of Mental Health and NAMI would further emphasize the inclusion of health as part of one’s attentiveness to their well-being.
The Department of Mental Health was at the fair informing residents of local resources, which included its county clinic in Valencia, individual therapy, psychiatric support and case management.
“It’s really important to have community members know that if they’re experiencing depression or anxiety that there’s help,” said Elida Olmos, a mental health clinical supervisor for the Mental Health Department. “You don’t have to suffer alone.”
Halloway said expanding the definitions of what it means to attend to one’s health is why they partnered with the Mental Health Department.
“You know, we’re a church but you need to be healthy in mind, body and spirit. We’re also trying to focus more on mental health,” said Halloway.