Chrystal Hoffman and Naaz Grewal from CMHA Vernon & District Branch display their Let’s Talk Day thought bubbles to encourage conversation about mental health. (CMHA Vernon photo)

CMHA Vernon highlights mental health conversations for Bell Let’s Talk

North Okanagan residents will join Canadians across the country Wednesday, Jan. 30 on social media to text, talk and tweet about mental health for the 9th annual Bell Let’s Talk Day.

The campaign promotes having conversations about mental health with friends, family and co-workers, recognizing that simply talking makes a significant impact in breaking down stigma and eliminating discrimination.

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Vernon and District Branch is encouraging community members to get involved in the conversation to decrease stigma and increase support for mental health awareness.

“Today there is less stigma when talking about how we maintain our mental health, and people are more likely to share what they are able to do to keep themselves well, with things like exercise or mindfulness,” said Julia Payson, executive director of CMHA Vernon and District Branch. “But when people access support from their doctors and are prescribed medication, there is still a lot of judgment, and this stops people from accessing the tools available to be well. There is no shame in working with your doctor to use medications to keep ourselves healthy, whether this is for a physical ailment or mental health issue.”

Every day CMHA Vernon and District helps North Okanagan residents access the resources they need to maintain and improve mental health, build resilience and support recovery from mental illness and addiction.

Related: Bell Let’s Talk: family aims to remove stigma

“Whether it’s answering calls 24/7 on the crisis line, providing housing for more than 250 residents, employment programs, nutrition programs, peer support, life skills training, or mental wellness education, we are here for everyone along the mental health spectrum all year round in our community,” said Payson.

“To support people living with mental health issues and help decrease stigma, you can thank your friends or colleagues for sharing their experiences with you. Let them know you support their health-affirming decisions, don’t judge and be available to listen.”

On Wednesday, two events will be raising funds for local mental health including The Jungle Art Show at The Fig Bistro where guests will enjoy an amazing evening of delicious eats from The Fig Catering, an incredible selection of wines from Intrigue Wines, soothing live entertainment from local musician Kailee McGuire, table decor by The Room Collection and gorgeous paintings for sale by local artist Carley Kitagawa. The event takes place 6 pm to 10 pm with tickets available by calling 250-558-5983.

Also, Essential Emotions is donating a portion of proceeds from their Emotional Support and Mood Management class at Schubert Centre from 7 pm to 9 pm. Participants will have the opportunity to create a custom oil rollerball with a donation to CMHA Vernon.

Bell will donate five cents to mental health initiatives for every text message sent by Bell Canada, Bell Aliant and Bell MTS customers, mobile and long distance call made by Bell Canada, Bell Aliant and Bell MTS customers, view of Bell Let’s Talk Day video or tweet using #BellLetsTalk, use of the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame and use of Bell Let’s Talk Snapchat filter.

Funds are distributed across Canada. Locally, Bell has funded mental health educational initiatives for youth and families.

To learn more about the Canadian Mental Health Association Vernon Branch or to make a donation to improve mental health in our community, visit the website www.vernon.cmha.bc.ca or call 250-542-3114.



parker.crook@vernonmorningstar.com

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