March for men­tal health awa­re­ness

Tribune Express - - COLLECTIVE • COMMUNITY - GREGG CHAM­BER­LAIN gregg.cham­ber­

Young and old, more than 150 people took to the streets in the Town of Haw­kes­bu­ry Fri­day mor­ning for a march to the centre of town in ce­le­bra­tion of Na­tio­nal Men­tal Health Awa­re­ness Week in Ca­na­da.

The Ca­na­dian As­so­cia­tion for Men­tal Health-Cham­plain East chap­ter (CAMH) or­ga­ni­zed the Oct. 6 event to fi­nish off the week-long ce­le­bra­tion of men­tal health ser­vices and awa­re­ness both in the Town of Haw­kes­bu­ry and throu­ghout the Pres­cottRus­sell re­gion. CAMH re­pre­sen­ta­tive Line La­pen­sée des­cri­bed the event as a “great fi­nish” for the week-long cam­pai­gn.

“People are get­ting more aware of it (men­tal health),” La­pen­sée said du­ring an in­ter­view fol­lo­wing the walk.

Mar­chers ga­the­red at Le Centre Viens et Vois on Ma­ry Street in Haw­kes­bu­ry for a pre­walk orien­ta­tion ses­sion. Wa­ving pla­cards, sin­ging and dan­cing to re­cor­ded mu­sic, and with an OPP pa­trol car to lead the way as es­cort, mar­chers made their way down­town to join in a flash mob ga­the­ring at the vil­lage centre in a show of sup­port for men­tal health and coun­sel­ling pro­grams avai­lable to re­si­dents of Haw­kes­bu­ry and other com­mu­ni­ties in the Pres­cott-Rus­sell re­gion.

Stu­dents from se­ve­ral lo­cal high schools took time out from mor­ning classes to take part in both the march and a “flash mob” ga­the­ring in the down­town core, which fea­tu­red student-ini­tia­ted songs and dan­cing, and al­so pre­sen­ta­tion from the CAMH of the Hope Award to Vé­ro­nique Por­te­lance, a lo­cal re­sident who has dealt with her own pro­blems with help from lo­cal coun­sel­lors and now as­sists the lo­cal CMHA agen­cy’s fa­mi­ly needs pro­gram as well as vo­lun­tee­ring time as a mo­ti­va­tio­nal spea­ker in the re­gion for the as­so­cia­tion.

La­pen­sée no­ted that sta­tis­tics show one in five Ca­na­dians ex­pe­rience some kind of emo­tio­nal or psy­cho­lo­gi­cal pro­blem, ran­ging from se­vere stress to deep de­pres­sion or any one of a num­ber of men­tal health is­sues. Be­sides rai­sing the pu­blic pro­file of good men­tal health, La­pen­sée no­ted that ano­ther goal of events like the Men­tal Ill­ness Awa­re­ness Walk (MIAW) is to help erase the stig­ma of men­tal health pro­blems.

“We want to take the shame away,” she said. “We want people to be able to come in and say ‘I’m not fee­ling good, I need help.’ So they can live a more pro­duc­tive life.

More in­for­ma­tion on the CMHA and the ser­vices it pro­vides are avai­lable at www. or by phone to 1-800-493-8271.

—pho­to Gregg Cham­ber­lain

Plus de 150 per­sonnes, les jeunes et les per­sonnes âgées, ont par­ti­ci­pé à la marche sur la sen­si­bi­li­sa­tion aux ma­la­dies men­tales, le 6 oc­tobre à Haw­kes­bu­ry, dans le cadre de la Se­maine na­tio­nale de la san­té men­tale.

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