For the past two years, the Huronia Community Foundation has made mental health advocacy a priority. With the support of HCF, Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care, and the local community, efforts to dispel the stigma surrounding mental illness have flourished. This success can be seen through the increase in participation in mental health initiatives, increase in employment and life skills opportunities for people struggling with mental health issues, and greater support for mental health programming through donations and sponsorship.
The Huronia Community Foundation has supported opportunities to learn and talk about mental health issues in the region, funding two major advocacy events for Waypoint so far. Each year this community is becoming more compassionate and supportive of people faced with mental illness, and their loved ones. This progression towards an inclusive, supportive, stigma-free region is thanks to the hard work and generosity of our local communities and the Huronia Community Foundation.
In an effort to dispel stigma, support mental health care locally, and improve the lives of those struggling with mental illness, Waypoint launched a community event, Mental Health in Motion. The event included a community run, walk, yoga class, and kids obstacle course to promote mental wellness through healthy active living. The event took place at the end of September just before Mental Illness Awareness Week. The event was a success, bringing over 100 participants, most of whom had never visited the hospital grounds, 40 volunteers, over a dozen new community partners, and raising over $5,000 by the time the runners took their first steps.
Feedback from our participants was very positive and with a few recommendations to bring forward we look forward to next year’s event. We were particularly moved by one story on social media shared by a gentleman who came in second place overall in the 5km run. The story discussed his experience coming in second behind an incredible young man, age 8, who surprised everyone when he crossed the finish line first overall. The story revealed just how caring this community is and how strongly we support one another. We look forward to seeing both runners again next year.
Those in attendance took the opportunity to get active, show their support, and learn more about mental illness, addiction, and mental health services available locally. This event was tailored to families and individuals of all ages, with a specific focus on the promotion of physical activity to enhance mental health. It was also the very first event we have been able to host that included community members, Waypoint outpatients, regional inpatients, and our provincial inpatients. This was an incredible accomplishment and a goal we have strived for.
Thank you for making it possible to provide this opportunity. The event will be held again this year and after last year’s success we hope to expand and bring more new faces and partners into the mix.