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Finding a "new normal" while navigating COVID

Southwest Michigan Journalism Collaborative

The community conversation will be held Tuesday, June 28th from 5:30 - 7:30pm at El Concilio, 930 Lake Street in Kalamazoo. The registration deadline is Friday, June 24.

What has the COVID-19 pandemic done to people’s mental health? And how have they learned to cope? Journalists in Southwest Michigan hope to learn more.

A Community Conversation: Navigating COVID – What’s your new normal? is being presented by the Southwest Michigan Journalism Collaborative, Integrated Services of Kalamazoo and Synergy Health. WMUK’s Director of Content Gordon Evans told Morning Edition host Brian O’Keefe that it may help people find a way to manage mental health challenges created by COVID.

The event will be held at El Concilio, 930 Lake Street in Kalamazoo on Tuesday, June 28,from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Journalists from the Southwest Michigan Journalism Collaborative will attend – to listen. Evans says facilitators will lead small group discussions, which journalists from the collaborative will use as an opportunity to learn how people are facing the mental health challenges surrounding COVID. News coverage of the event will not include the names of those attending. Evans says “the idea is really to get background information, to hear what people are experiencing and let that inform reporting.”

The Southwest Michigan Journalism Collaborative launched the Mental Wellness Project in April of 2022. The solutions-oriented journalism initiative is covering mental health issues in Southwest Michigan. The community conversation is part of the effort to report on mental health.

Evans says “we want to bring people together… but we also want to find ways that people have been coping, and maybe we find things that help other people cope.”

The community conversation, for those 18 and older, will include a light dinner and childcare (limited space). . Interested community members should register here by June 24Spanish-speaking interpreters and facilitators will be available. Those needing ASL (American Sign Language) interpretation should note that when registering. Mental health resources also will be available before and after the event.

Brian comes to WMUK after spending nearly 30 years as News Director of a public radio station in the Chicago area. Brian grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and attended Western Kentucky University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcasting. He started working in public radio while at WKU; and has worked in radio news for more than 35 years. Brian lives on a quiet lake in Barry County with his wife and three dogs. Thanks to his Kentucky roots, he’s an avid collector of bourbon and other varieties of whiskey. Above all else, Brian considers himself a story teller and looks forward to sharing southwest Michigan stories with WMUK’s listeners.
Gordon Evans became WMUK's Content Director in 2019 after more than 20 years as an anchor, host and reporter. A 1990 graduate of Michigan State, he began work at WMUK in 1996.