ESCANABA, Mich. (WZMQ) – A Delta County resident is leading the charge to provide mental health resources for his community.
Cris Lucier founded Kindness Rocks Delta County during the pandemic as a way to help local businesses.
“I decided that I was going to help out all my friends and family and all the business owners in the area by purchasing gift certificates from them and giving them away in a weekly drawing for people that were being kind,” Lucier said.
Since then, the Kindness Rocks community has grown. Each summer, the group chooses a different project to focus on.
This year, the group is turning its efforts to mental health, which is a subject close to Lucier’s heart.
“About six years ago, I was struggling,” he recalled. “I had gotten out of a 15-year, long-term relationship. I didn’t know how to handle that. I was taking it out on myself by not taking care of myself. I attempted suicide a couple times, I was assaulted, and I just felt like I didn’t belong here anymore.”
Lucier survived that dark period of his life. Now, he wants others who feel like he did to know there is hope.
Kindness Rocks Delta County has partnered with North Coast Apparel to make shirts that state, “You are enough.” The back of the shirts include a message of hope to anyone who sees it. A portion of each sale will be used to put together mental health resource kits.
“We’re planning on some age-appropriate kids that would provide a free counseling session, along with a lot of resources on where you can reach out for help,” Lucier said. “Categories will also be suicide prevention, grief counseling for death of suicide victims. We’ll also have mental health journals.”
Lucier is also working with benefits agency Michigan Planners to host a business summit later this summer. The goal is to expand mental health resources for employees.
“Employers throughout the region are really struggling to find employees,” said Mary Feuerbach, Michigan Planners managing partner and longtime friend of Lucier. “What as human resource professionals–as business people–we can do is to be able to assist employees where they’re at and being able to connect them to the resources that are available. to them both locally and nationally.”
Lucier hopes the Kindness Rocks Delta County Mental Health Initiative will raise awareness of mental health issues and help people access the care and tools they need.
“Your story does not end,” he said. “You are enough. You matter. If you’re struggling, just reach out, no matter what it is.”
To raise funds for the initiative, Kindness Rocks Delta County will host a chair massage donation event on July 8, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Serenity Salon. The cost is $1 per minute or $12 for 15 minutes.
Kindness Rocks Delta County will also host Yoga in the Park July 27, August 24, and September 21. Follow the Kindness Rocks Facebook page for future updates.