PhotoVoice exhibit illustrating mental health comes to BCHHS building

News release from Buncombe County:

According to 2019 data from the N.C. State Center for Health Statistics, suicide is one of the top five leading causes of death for people ages 10 to 65 in North Carolina. In Buncombe County, we’ve experienced an increase in deaths by suicide among young people, so to help lift up the voices of young people struggling with mental health and reduce mental health stigmas, the County is partnering with NC Healthy Transitions to bring the Photovoice exhibit to 40 Coxe Ave., Asheville. A local initiative of SAMHSA, NC Healthy Transitions recruited youth in Buncombe County to help tell the story of what mental health looks like to them through photography.

These pictures and the youth artists who made them will host an exhibit displayed for the first time at a grand reveal event open to the public on Thursday, Sept. 14 in the lobby of the Buncombe County Health and Human Services building at 40 Coxe Ave. in downtown Asheville from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The exhibit will remain on display through Sept. 21.

“The process was actually pretty eye-opening… taking pictures of my community and reflecting on things that people like me also need. I think the more people knew about this, the more they’d want to help and the more they’d want to reach out and be able to provide these resources for students. It just really made me reflect that we as a community need to come together stronger to provide for different minorities, and different communities all over,” says a youth who participated in the project.

The program will feature a presentation at 6 p.m. from speakers with NC Healthy Transitions, and local organizations will share information about youth and family resources. Drinks and small bites will be available from the Equal Plates Project. Attendees are welcome to drop in, and parking will be validated for the adjacent parking deck.

“We all have times where we need someone safe who we can talk to, and our youth need this more than ever,” says Victoria Reichard, Buncombe County Behavioral Health Manager. “By attending this event, you can get a glimpse of what mental health means to some of our youth and ways as a community we can create safe places for youth to talk and receive the support they need.”

Following the reveal, the exhibit will travel around Buncombe County and will be displayed at many stops including county libraries, parks, the Blue Ridge Pride Festival on September 30, and other locations. For further details about hosting the Photovoice display please contact Willow Burgess-Johnson at

Who:  NC Healthy Transitions

Buncombe County Government

Local mental health and youth organizations

What: Youth Photovoice Project Reveal and Kickoff

Where: Buncombe County Health and Human Services Lobby, 40 Coxe Ave., Asheville, NC 28801

When:  Thursday, Sept. 14, 5:30-7:30 p.m. with a presentation at 6 p.m.

IMPORTANT: If you or someone you love is experiencing a mental health crisis, call or text 988. The helpline is available for free, confidential support 24/7. Click here for more information.

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