By Vanessa Vernick – Community Engagement Coordinator, Wood’s Homes
More than 160 people gathered on the cool, crisp and shady corner of Stephen Avenue and 3rd Street. With the sound of beating snare drums, and members of Calgary’s corporate community streaming in sporting T-shirts in an array of colours, the energy was high as the crowd eagerly waited for the march to begin…
On May 7, 2015, Wood’s Homes hosted the first March for Mental Health as a way to recognize National Children’s Mental Health Day.
As a 101 year-old children’s mental health centre, we wanted to claim the day for the children and families we work with each year, and particularly for those who have not yet received the help they need.
Here are just 10 of the many highlights from our March for Mental Health:
- The many corporate supporters who showed up to support Children’s Mental Health Day with their own signs, and brightly coloured T-shirts – including Vermilion Energy, Sinopec Canada, BMO , TD, RBC, Canadian Oil Sands, WestJet and Ply Gem. You made us so proud!
- The many volunteers, including the CBC Do Crew, Starbucks and our own staff, who gave their time and enthusiasm to spread awareness about Wood’s Homes and the importance of children’s mental health.
- The curiosity of onlookers who pulled out their phones, took photos and shared us across social media resulting in a trending hashtag, #CMHDyyc.
- The community support was epitomized in Mayor Nenshi’s proclamation of Children’s Mental Health Day. We’d also like to thank the Canadian Mental Health Association for their support.
- The cupcakes – courtesy of Crave Cookies & Cupcakes. Thanks CRAVE!!!
- We handed out 2,600 stress balls and watched as folks of all ages played with them and made note of the imprinted crisis number!
- Our early-bird volunteers who sacrificed their sleep to start off Children’s Mental Health Day at the City Hall LRT ramps – they ran out of swag in 20 minutes!
- The inspirational speeches from the Calgary Stampeders‘ Jon Cornish, Wood’s Homes Foundation Board Chair Heather Heasman, and Wood’s Homes Director Dean Soenen.
- The beautiful sunshine that appeared for our march just one day after rain, and three days before snow.
- Hearing the power behind 160 marchers chanting “it takes all of us, yes hand in hand, for mental health, let’s take a stand,” from three blocks away.
To get involved with Wood’s Homes: Click Here
Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends, family and community – let’s work together!
If you are experiencing a crisis and need to speak to someone, please call our counsellors at our 24/7 Crisis Counselling Line: 403-299-9699 or toll-free: 1-800-563-6106.
Wood’s Homes is a nationally accredited mental health centre – proudly helping communities for over 100 years. Learn more at woodshomes.ca.