London's first Defeat Depression campaign is in full swing, and is looking to its first Walk and Talk for Mental Health event to support a pair of local mental health organizations.
Walk and Talk for Mental Health is set for Saturday, Feb. 28 and will consist of a short walk, starting at downtown Victoria Park at 10 a.m. Indoor festivities will follow the walk across the street at Jim Bob Ray’s with a guest speaker, fun, food, and a fundraising raffle/draw.
Defeat Depression (http://mdsc.akaraisin.com/LondonDD2015) aims to fight against the stigma associated with mental illness, and seeks to help those with mental health issues get the help they need.
Funds raised from this first London campaign are going to two local mental health organizations — the London and District Distress Centre and CONNECT for Mental Health. The campaign goal is to raise $20,000.
“I’m excited that Londoners are embracing this first Defeat Depression campaign," said Todd Devlin, the event organizer. “I’ve had nothing but positive feedback from the community and fantastic support from local organizations. It will be great to bring people together on Feb. 28 for such an important cause.”
It’s estimated that at any given time, one-in-five Canadians is affected by mental illness, whether that's depression or any number of other mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, etc. Given the self-reported nature and the stigma associated with mental illness, that number is likely underestimated.
“If we're being honest with ourselves, we're all touched in some way by mental illness, whether it's dealing with a mental health issue ourselves or having someone within our family or circle of friends struggle,” Devlin said. “It’s long overdue for us to be open about that and view mental illnesses no differently than physical illnesses.”
London's Defeat Depression campaign is entirely volunteer-driven, and the movement has received support from a number of sponsors, including RBC, who will also be staffing the registration tables on event day.
Meanwhile, on Jan. 24, more than 20 volunteers braved the cold and collected nearly $3,300 in donations outside six busy LCBO stores in London.