Eric Harris a volunteer for National Alliance on Mental Illness of Southeastern Arizona speaks about the upcoming walk event.

The Southeastern Arizona chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness is hosting a walk this weekend in Sierra Vista to raise money and awareness for mental health support programs.

Rural areas have been coping with cuts to the state health department budget that have impacted mental health care services and driven many patients to seek help through organizations like the Southeastern Arizona chapter of NAMI.

The organization is seeing two to three times as many people who need the services, says Eric Harris, co-chair of the chapter's March for Mental Health. At the same time, the chapter is managing a 65 percent reduction in its own budget.

The chapter provides services such as support groups for those who are consumers of mental health care, and other groups to support family members of those dealing with mental illness, Harris says. The chapter also has a free resource library.

All of the services are paid for with donations or grants, so in addition to bringing awareness, the March for Mental Health is a fundraiser, Harris says.

The March for Mental Health will take place at 8 a.m. on May 5, 2012, at Apache Middle School in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Registration begins at 7 a.m.