On Saturday, Nov 4th, Healthy NYC kicked off its launch with a bang at the Healthy NYC Expo, presented by ShopRite. The event, held at the Brooklyn Sports Club, in Spring Creek, brought out the best of the best of health-focused companies, organizations, and individuals, representing health segments from physical and mental to nutrition, skin and hair care, senior health and everything in between. Vendors, free classes, demonstrations and discussions were spread throughout the venue, which was amped up by a live DJ.
While the event focused on the many types of health and self-care, senior health took a high priority, with many vendors specializing in senior health programs, and resources. Senior Whole Health and Tradition Home Care spread information on managed long-term care. The American Cancer Society,the Family Health & Cardiac Center, a Brooklyn-based healthcare center located at 7404 5th Ave that specializes in heart disease; and the Bedford-Stuyvesant Family Health Center, all focused on healthcare and health-based programs. Many of the vendors focused on reaching out to local residents who knew little about their services.
Ramesh Smith, a representative of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Family Health Center, commented how “Some persons who have visited the table have expressed that they didn’t know about the Hepatitis C program that we offered, and they’re glad that something like this exists for Brooklyn residents.”
Many attendees were surprised by the information they were learning, especially when it came to medical conditions that generally are not openly taught or spoken about. One of the largest focuses during the event was that of mental health. Throughout the day, open conversations about mental health were brought up by vendors and attendees alike. Programs such as ThriveNYC, which highlighted the long-term changes New York City has instituted to combat mental illness and NYC Well, which provides a free, 24 hour, confidential service to those going through hard times, helped highlight the importance of mental health.
Andratta Mitchell (CEO, LifeHope), a behavior specialist, psychotherapist, counselor, and one of the expo’s speakers on the Mental Health Discussion Panel commented that mental health is about community. Mitchell stated, “…as the community is so impacted by mental illness, and it’s impounded by social issues, substance abuse, domestic violence, and drug addiction. I’m here today because we need to answer the question of where do we go after here? We can talk about it, we can be about it, but as our community is now being regentrified, how do we re-gentrify our people? How do we educate them and how do we move all of the stigmas regarding mental health?”
Mitchell was joined on the panel by five other panelists, including 25 year old recording artist, Kota the Friend, Marc R. Damsky, SVP at ICL, Judge Carolyn Wade, Chantal Georges, Creative Art Therapist (NYC Health + Hospitals, Kings County), Dr. Lisa Nichols, MBA, PHD, Clinical Manager at Brookdale Hospital, and moderator, Nneka Njideka, LMSW, School Assessment Team for NYC Dept of Education. held a fantastic discussion about mental health and how people can catch the signs and help combat its negative stigma. The discussion, entitled, “The Mental Health Roundtable Discussion: Recognizing the Signs”, was a crowd favorite, and went over its initial scheduled time due to the audience’s interest and participation.
Other elements of the event included a special opening performance by Performing Arts & Technology HS (PATHS Dance), from Thomas Jefferson Campus, which wowed the crowd, cooking demonstrations by dieticians from ShopRite, where food was passed out, free smoothies from the Vita Coco smoothie bar, and free dance classes by Purelements Dance Company.
After the cooking demonstration, many guests decided to join in on the 90’s Hip Hop Inspired Spin Class, while others joined in on the zumba session.
The next Healthy NYC Expo will be held in the Bronx in April 2018. To become a partner or vendor of the next Healthy NYC Expo contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 718-285-9351.