Our collective voice and collective action can make a difference!
May 5-11 2014 marked Mental Health Awareness Week. Many different, provincial and national organizations came together to share an important message:
Mental Health Matters.
We were thrilled with the response to this year’s initiative. From interviews with local news and radio stations, to events attended by Alberta’s Premier, this week’s focus earned some amazing momentum.
#Care4u caught on quickly and soon hundreds of twitter and facebook followers were sharing their stories and photos relating to mental health.
On Tuesday, May 6thwe asked adults who work with kids to take a minute to watch a video and discuss over a cup of coffee. On Wednesday, May 7thAlberta schools and communities came together and put “Hats on for Mental Health.” We saw some great photos posted on #care4u including a photo of His Honour, Col. (Ret’d) Donald S. Ethell, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta wearing a hat and the “Mental Health Matters” pin. We asked families to join in on “Family Hour” on Thursday, May 8thinvest an hour to support positive mental health in their family by taking a walk, playing a game and finding opportunities to spend quality time together.
The week also saw plenty of other provincial events going on!
Students and families in Edmonton’s Mill Woods joined The Way In Team for an Aboriginal Family Hour on Monday May 5th in celebration of Mental Health Awareness Week. The night was about spending time with family and coming together as a community to support mind wellness which is fostered by the traditions of Aboriginal peoples. Premier Hancock and Edmonton Public School Superintendent Darrel Robertson attended this event and enjoyed a round dance with other attendees.
To celebrate Hats on for Mental Health, students at St. Albert’s Ecole Muriel Martin performed a song and read short texts they prepared about mental health. Of course, they also wore the hats they created!
Whitecourt Central School students made a splash wearing their sea of green in the downtown core of Whitecourt on May 7th to celebrate Child & Youth Mental Health Day. Escorted by Constable Penney of the Whitecourt RCMP, students and staff participated in a Hatsquerade to show that they care about those affected by mental illness. Whitecourt Mayor Maryann Chichak and Woodlands County Mayor Jim Renney chatted with students about the importance of positive mental health and supporting each other before joining students in the Hatsquerade parade.
ESPO’art celebration took place on the evening of May 7that the City Francophone in Edmonton. There was a short program which included an opportunity for families to create art together. It was an exploration of hope and wellbeing through artistic exploration and expression; a celebration of visual art; an opportunity to get people together to share and to celebrate the positive images of hope through a community art event. The event raised funds through a silent auction of the art that will support the Bah family, a francophone family that experienced a tragedy in February.
The Second Annual Jasper Place STAR Mental Health Fair took place on Thursday, May 8th at Edmonton’s Jasper Place High School. A number of our partners were able to attend this event and the photos definitely show their enthusiasm.
Lac La Biche and area families were encouraged to spend an hour of quality time together on May and approximately 100 people gladly took the invitation from Northern Lights School Division’s Successful Families – Successful Kids (MHCB), and Out of School Care Programs.
Event organizers turned a portion of the Lac La Biche Kinsmen Grounds into a family-friendly fun zone, complete with a mental health-themed scavenger hunt, a supper around the campfire, and lots of running, playing and laughing.
The feedback has been positive from many of the 100 people who took part in the event that saw parents arriving at the party to join their children who had been bussed to the grounds directly from school.
We are so pleased that our mandate for the events and activities achieved the goal of helping to raise awareness about Mental Health and healthy relationships. Adults who support and recognize the importance of healthy relationships can have a significant impact on the children and youth in their community. Just like physical health, everybody has mental health.
Good mental health is not merely the absence of mental health problems. People who are mentally healthy build and maintain healthy relationships, they are resilient and can easily adapt to change, they have balance in their lives and better self-confidence. Emotionally healthy children and youth are more likely to be successful in school and life.
We are looking forward to celebrating this week again in 2015!