On May 1st, Dr. TA Loeffler, an experienced mountain climber and the Chair of Teaching and Learning in the School of Human Kinetics at Memorial University, will be pulling kilos of green mental health awareness ribbons up Signal Hill. At the top of the hill, people will be asked to tie ribbons for anyone they know who struggles with mental illness.
Throughout the week, people are invited to tie their own green ribbons to the fences surrounding Bannerman Park. It is one of many events planned as part of The Canadian Mental Health Association’s (CMHA) 66th annual Mental Health Awareness Week from May 1st -7th 2017.
The Newfoundland and Labrador division of CMHA is inviting people to GET LOUD about mental health for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week. According to CMHA NL, one in every five Canadians deal with mental health issues.
The GET LOUD campaign is meant to raise awareness about the prevalence of mental illness in Newfoundland and Labrador by encouraging people to speak openly about mental illness. CMHA NL believes being vocal about mental illness will help eliminate discrimination towards people suffering from mental health issues and reduce the barriers that prevent people from accessing mental health resources.
“While society’s attitude towards mental illness is improving, many people with mental illnesses are still stigmatized due to a lack of knowledge and understanding” says Nancy Salsman, Chair of Mental Health Awareness Week.
The Eastern Edge Quilters Guild has hand sewn 25 quilts to present to the Waterford Hospital’s permanent resident floor. The quilts will be on display in the evening at the Ecole des Grands-Vents during Mental Health Awareness week.
Storefronts throughout the downtown will be decorating their windows with green lights to show their support, and buildings throughout the city will be illuminated with powerful green lights every evening during the week. In addition to decorating their window, The Newfoundland Chocolate Company is designing a special truffle for Mental Health Awareness Week, and donating all the proceeds from its sale to CMHA NL.
Jumping Bean Coffee will be supporting CMHA NL by donating a portion of the sales of their Newfoundland Brew Coffee to the organization. Some of the proceeds from this year’s Hot Soup Cool Jazz gourmet soup competition will also be donated to CMHA NL.
There will several workshops happening throughout the week, including a half-day workshop covering Psychological Health and Safety Standards in the Workplace hosted by CMHA NL at the NL Housing and Homelessness Network.
Local high schools and post-secondary institutions will also be launching their own initiatives to create awareness about mental health concerns in their communities during the week.
CMHA NL hopes that the week’s events will spur honest conversations about mental illness that will help decrease the stigma that often stops people from seeking help.