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Local nonprofits to host mental health advocacy event at WMPAC 

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The Jan. 12 event takes place at WMPAC. PHOTO BY JULIA BARTON

EBS STAFF 

On Friday, Jan. 12, Big Sky SNO, Be Well Big Sky and Wellness in Action will host “An Evening of Inspiration and Advocacy for Mental Health” at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center.  

Doors will open for the free event at 5:30 p.m. and keynote speaker Molly Kawahata will begin at 6 p.m. A panel discussion on mental health and 30-minute film screening will follow. Attendees must register online for the free event—registration will include an optional $15 donation to support the efforts of Big Sky SNO.  

A joint press release from the three local nonprofits encouraged people to attend the “transformative event” for mental health awareness and advocacy. “Join us for an evening of inspiration, education, and advocacy for mental health. Together, we can foster change and create a community where conversations about mental health are open, supportive, and empowering,” the release stated.  

Kawahata is the founder of a strategy and communications consultancy, Systemic Impact Strategies, served as a climate advisor with the Obama administration and is an accomplished ice climber.  

“Known for tackling monumental challenges, Molly will share her intimate journey with mental health and discuss the power of the human mind to drive positive change. Her unique perspective promises to inspire and challenge the audience,” the release stated.  

After Kawahata’s address, panelists will discuss issues of mental health related to climate change and ski towns.  

Big Sky School District teacher Jeremy Harder will moderate the panel including Kawahata, Lone Peak High School student Chloe Unger, Gallatin County Sheriff’s Deputy Travis Earl and Big Sky Ski Patroller Sean Holbine.  

“Their diverse perspectives will shed light on the importance of mental health awareness in various contexts within our mountain community,” the release stated.  

The evening will end with the 30-minute screening of “Mountain in My Mind 2: Tragedy into Triumph.” 

The film aims to destigmatize conversations about mental health and suicide in the ski industry. Male and female professional skiers and snowboarders share their experiences and perspectives, emphasizing the transformative power of turning tragedy into triumph, according to the release.  

In preparation for the event, organizers recommend watching “The Scale of Hope,” a film by Patagonia wherein Kawahata candidly shares her experience with mental health and the climate crisis through the lens of her love of alpine climbing. 

Donations to WIA will be collected at the event to support Tim Tate and his local counseling program for first responders. 

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