“The Launch” will take place tonight, 7pm, at Holy Heart Theatre. What is it? A very important community event bound to be as entertaining as it is informative.
MHA Gerry Rogers held a Town Hall on mental health in June, and couldn’t ignore how crowded and concerned the audience was on the matter of mental illness, and its treatment in the province.
“People told me there must be change,” Rogers said. “I’ve been listening and now am taking action, along with thirty community groups.”
Over the course of the summer, she assembled labour groups, students, and individuals working in the area of mental health into a collective body called “Community Coalition 4 Mental Health,” and tonight will be The Coalition’s grand debut.
A trio of launches will occur: Amelia Curran’s new music video, Jamie MacWhirter’s new book, and Lynda Boyd & Mathe Bernard’s new short films — all of which address the issue of mental health.
There will also be live music from City on the Coast, Ennis, and Jenny Gear.
Coalition member George Skinner is also the Executive Director of the Canadian Mental Health Association NL. “The mental health crisis in the province is largely ignored,” he said. “We hear of people in dire need, waiting hours in an ER only to be sent home.”
He said that he and other members of the Community Coalition 4 Mental Health “have tangible, practical suggestions” for improving the system that should be helping locals suffering from mental illness.
One portion of the event tonight is the premier of the mental health awareness video mentioned in this month’s issue of The Overcast: musician Amelia Curran’s new star-studded music video features familiar local faces like Rick Mercer, Mary Walsh, Marthe Bernard, Kristen Pellerin, Sean McCann, and many more, speaking about their experiences with mental illness. And the cast of musicians involved might reach one dozen
Curran’s project started when she decided to share her own story and struggles with mental illness and our province’s inability to help.
Doors will open at 6 pm tonight, to allow people to socialize and visit information booths. “People are hurting,” Rogers said, “there are simply not enough services and facilities to handle those who are experiencing a mental health crisis.”
Come out and show your support tonight, and if you’re on the fence about going, consider this: how often are you simultaneously being entertained, informed, and helping make a difference, all in one sitting?
Something needs to change, and that’s the spirit of this movement. If a person was suffering a diabetic shock or heart attack — aka a physical illness — they’d know exactly what to do: storm the emergency room, where they’d receive a fair and fairly swift assessment and treatment. But what about about a sudden flaring up of a mental illness? A schizophrenic episode or a crippling bout of depression? Should there not be the equivalent of an emergency treatment here?
Anyone who doesn’t consider mental health and its treatment as legitimate and important as physical health is quite simply in need of a biology lesson — the insulin imbalance of a diabetic is virtually the same as the neurotransmitter imbalance of a depressed person. The fact that one takes place in the brain, the other in the body, shouldn’t come with any more stigma or indifference.