By Karen Xu
Dozens of people gathered in Leesburg Saturday afternoon for the annual walk to bring awareness to obsessive compulsive disorder and mental health.
Despite the rain, spirits were high as participants, clad in green for mental health awareness, walked into downtown Leesburg with signs and handed out flyers about mental health before reconvening at the home of organizer Sam Barthel for dinner and live music.
The Barthels hosted the first walk in 2015 and raised $880 for the International OCD Foundation. Since then, they have continued to organize the walk every May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month.
Barthel said that the walk is as much for the community as it is for each individual in attendance. He hopes that by letting them know that there are people to support them and giving them information about mental health, they are able to reach out into their own circles.
“We’re doing this walk for the community, but also just for everybody who’s here, and we want to open up the conversation a bit more because there are demons that people deal with silently often,” he said.