On the campus of Perry Wellness Center, the holiday season is a busy one. Christmas trees, poinsettias, and seasonal crafts are for sale at the bustling Happy Patch Market, and colorful decorations brighten the center’s classrooms and campus. The large Leyland cypress from Farmers Feed and Seed is fully decorated through the efforts of both peers and staff. In the community, the center has also participated in seasonal events such as the downtown Christmas parade, all while attending to the regular operations of the program and an upcoming visit from Georgia’s behavioral health commissioner Frank Berry.
“Christmas is a fun time at Perry Wellness Center,” founder Stuart Perry explains. “We try to help our peers and staff deal with any potential depression problems that may arise during the holidays. We will be okay as we work together to support our peer-run campus.”
Stuart is particularly looking forward to the center’s upcoming Christmas open house. “Cheer Up the Blues” is an annual tradition, featuring an open house, visits from Santa, refreshments, singing, and other entertainment. The event is designed to share a message of joy during a season that is often difficult for those the center serves throughout the year. As Stuart notes, individuals with mental illness or substance abuse problems may experience increased feelings of anxiety or depression during holidays, which can be stressful times for all. This year’s Cheer Up the Blues is scheduled for Thursday, December 18 from 5 – 7 p.m.
The public is encouraged to stop by for the open house or visit the winter market and share the festive atmosphere with welcoming peers throughout the holidays.
In the photo, from left, Vicki, Willie, Rhonda, Laura, and Jeffrey present the freshly decorated tree to market patrons.