Vernon women are gathering to raise their glasses and their voices to break the silence about mental health.
Women and Wellness takes place at the Vernon Golf and Country Club Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. It is a fundraiser that seeks to dispel myths and create hope for the one in five Canadians who suffer from depression or other brain-based illnesses.
Over the past eight years, the charity event has received nearly $400,000 in donations, backed by dedicated volunteers and generous corporate contributors, including its new national sponsor Shoppers Drug Mart.
“The belief that when women are healthy, Canada is healthy is at the heart of Shoppers Drug Mart’s commitment to providing support in the area of women’s health, including mind, body and spirit,” said Mary-Alice Vuicic, chief administrative officer at Shoppers Drug Mart.
“As part of our ongoing commitment to women’s whole health, we are pleased to partner with Women and Wellness to bring attention and resources to help address depression and brain-based illnesses that impact so many women across the country.”
The money raised helps develop and deliver education and support services for people with lived experience, their loved ones and the public, ranging from a course to help teenagers cope with depression to a program to help people with bipolar disease manage their illness.
Mental disorders, unlike other illnesses, carry a double burden – disabling symptoms plus shame brought on by stigma.
Women and Wellness began in Moncton, N.B., as a kitchen party with a purpose – to do something meaningful about mental health – and has evolved into a coast-to-coast fundraiser, with a total of ten all-women evenings being held in Atlantic Canada, Ontario and B.C. this winter.
The guest speakers for Vernon’s Women and Wellness event are Cecilla Skarrit, whose family was impacted by stigma, and Linda Edgecombe, a motivational speaker who takes a humorous look at the plight of women.
For more information about the Canadian Mental Health Association, Vernon branch, and its programs, visit www.vernon.cmha.bc.ca, or drop into the offices at 3100 28th Ave. or call 250-542-3114.