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KC man says Mental Health Awareness Month means more after Chiefs rally shooting

'You can’t tell someone when to heal and how to heal'
Mark Byrd on his "Tranquility Wall"
Posted at 6:14 PM, May 07, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mark Byrd has found solace in his corner of tranquility at Cafe Reflections.

As the restaurant's owner, Byrd cherishes his "tranquility wall." He said it's one of his favorite spots as it's a stable sanctuary where he can simply breathe and escape the noise.

"It's a place where I can think, meditate and process my thoughts," Byrd said.

For him, this haven takes on added significance in light of the shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl rally, where his family member fell victim to gun violence.

Reflecting on that tragic day, Byrd wonders why such senseless violence occurred, acknowledging the ongoing mental health toll it has taken on his community.

Mark Byrd, owner of Cafe Reflections

But despite the challenges he has faced, Byrd remains resilient, actively pursuing both personal and communal healing.

He attends counseling for himself and channels his energy into his work at Cafe Reflections, striving to create a space where others can find support and understanding.

"We’re here to help each other, so if it’s something that I can share from the experience of mine that can help someone else heal or grow from what I felt or what I dealt with in my life, that’s the blessing in it all," Byrd said.

He emphasized there's no timeline when it comes to healing.

"You can’t tell someone when to heal and how to heal; you can’t say how much time it’s gonna take," Byrd said. "That’s gonna affect children for years."

This year, Byrd said Mental Health Awareness Month means so much more. His message to others is to find their quiet place to navigate the storms of life.

"It opened up and gave us a light to let people come toward," Byrd said.