Fueled by uncertainty and anxiety in the face of changing policies and a new administration, women’s marches around the country shattered attendance expectations on Saturday, January 21, 2017. Attendance was higher than predicted in marches across Washington, including Seattle, Spokane, Olympia/Tacoma, Bellingham, Friday Harbor, Whidbey Island, Yakima, and Chelan.
In Spokane, officials estimated over 5,000 people packed in to the downtown convention center for a volunteer fair preceding the march. Inside the fair, local non-profits and community organizations set up tables to advertise their services, answer questions, and address concerns. WSPA took this opportunity to spark conversations with participants about the importance of mental healthcare in addressing anxiety and stress in a troublesome political climate. WSPA members Julia Mackaronis, Pamela Ridgeway, and Andrew Ridgeway volunteered to represent Chapter 1 at the table inside the center, sharing WSPA’s mission and values with potential members and clients. Julia Mackaronis felt the event had a significant impact, commenting, “I found it meaningful and moving that a small action could reinforce something as important as WSPA’s commitment to diversity.”
A handout was also developed for the event to inform people how to consider and choose psychotherapy. Titled Considering Mental Health Therapy, the handout can be downloaded and used by all WSPA members. Additionally, the booth attracted a a few practicing psychologists potentially interested in becoming members. All chapters are encouraged to follow Chapter 1’s lead by participating in as many community events as possible and contributing to the ongoing discussion of the importance of caring for your mental health.