Cross country trip for mental health awareness

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – A group out of Michigan is driving an RV across America to raise awareness about mental health.


The 34th stop on that journey was in Kentucky Wednesday.

Before ABC 36’s Bobbi McSwine could even get started with the interview, the man behind the movement, Billy Gains, was at it again. He asked strangers in Frankfort about their mental health and how they’re dealing with the pandemic.

One woman talked about not being able to see her sister in a nursing home.

“Family members were not allowed visitation for a year and she has vascular dementia,” said Carla Gillion, who lives in Frankfort.

Gains said moments like that – allowing people the space to talk, and to let them know someone cares, is why he started ‘Battle of the Gains’.

“Our message is that you can get through it,” Gains said. “It’s going to be a battle, but you can make gains and there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Gains said it all started on his college campus in Michigan.

“Back in college, a lot of my friends and I were just noticing that a lot of people were struggling with their mental health going through school,” Gain said.

He was also struggling. Now, the 26-year-old said he wants to make sure college students know there are resources available – probably more now than when he was in school.

“Our message is just to reach out if you’re struggling with anything,” Gain said. “I know it’s tough.”

The University of Kentucky’s Acting Associate VP for Student Wellbeing, Corrine Williams, agrees.

She hopes students take advantage of the many resources available, but she also knows the impact that a perfect stranger can have.

“You never know when a small moment of kindness is really going to change the trajectory of someone’s day, and I think one of the things that I’ve said to a lot of different people during this pandemic is that we all need to have a little bit more grace with each other,” Williams said.

“You know –  you talk to so many people in a day you never know what the battle is that people are going through and so no one person has a perfect life and we’re all in this together, Gains said.

The tour started on March 15 and will end on June 15.

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