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Mental-health wellness class to begin April 5

WOODSTOCK – Just like we all have physical health, we have mental health. Sometimes one or the other, or both, can suffer illness.

“As a society, we don’t have a problem talking about our physical illnesses, no matter how serious they are,” said Dick Peterson, a state-certified recovery support specialist with Pioneer Center for Human Services, Homeless Services—McHenry County PADS.

 “That was not always the case,” he said. “You only have to go back a generation or two, and people were silent about or unaware of cancer. But that changed.”

“Now, when it comes to our mental health, if something goes wrong, people too often suffer needlessly and alone in silence, fearing stigma. But mental illnesses are among the most treatable of serious diseases. The state motto for mental illness is, ‘Recovery is expected!’ ”

Peterson, who has mental illnesses, is facilitating an eight-week mental-health recovery class, beginning Saturday, April 5, at the McHenry County PADS Day Center, 14411 Kishwaukee Valley Road, Woodstock.

The class will meet from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. for eight Saturdays, ending May 24.

The free educational class is open to the public. Concepts can be applied to almost any aspect of life, Peterson said. Participants must be at least 18 years old. Class size is limited to 10 people.

The program is Wellness Recovery Action Planning, which is recognized as an evidence-based practice by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

It is endorsed and promoted by the Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Mental Health. The program is based on the work of Mary Ellen Copeland, The state trains and certifies class facilitators.

“Wellness Recovery Action Planning is a common-sense, methodical approach to wellness, be it mental or physical,” Peterson said.

To register for the class or for information, contact Peterson at (815) 759-7287 or

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