Planning begins for Mental Health walk
- Published on Tuesday, April 4, 2017
By Eoin Devereux
The Neepawa Banner
Preparations are underway for a community event that’ll bring awareness to a subject very few people openly talk about. Several volunteers recently met at the Neepawa Town Office to discuss the Miles for Mental Health Fun Run. The premise of the event, which is planned for Aug. 20 in Neepawa, is to give families and businesses the chance to participate in a walk/run in support of those struggling to maintain mental wellness.
According to statistics from the Canadian Mental Health Association, one in five people will experience mental illness at some point in their life, whether it’s depression, anxiety or suicide. On top of that, those topics are not something that many people are willing to discuss openly. Organizing committee board member Diane Martin said the idea behind Miles for Mental Health is to create and spotlight a message of support around those subjects and make people feel comfortable about discussing them publicly.
“We want this to emphasize that there doesn’t need to be a stigma around mental health. How can we not talk about something that everyone has dealt with in some form or another. Whether it was themselves or someone they know,” said Martin.
Preliminary planning during the volunteer meeting focused on shoring up support from local businesses, figuring out the number of volunteers that’ll be needed on the day of the run and deciding on a route. Martin said that it’s been decided that the walk will begin in the Flats and will require between 10-14 volunteers. She also noted several local businesses have already committed support.
“We’ve had a really positive early response from the community in general. Not just the business community, but from a variety of individuals. The concept itself has been very well received. It came from a place of sorrow but it can lead to some more positive outcomes for other people,” Martin stated. “As for other means of support, it’s not too early. Getting into the spring, people’s lives are busy. We definitely are looking for volunteers for the day, but we’ll also need a few people before then to help scout out some of the other pieces that are being put into place in the next couple of months. But really, the most important thing for people to think about is to participate. We’ll have the 10 and 5 kilometre run events for those who enjoy running. The 5k and 1k walk event are for those who like to walk and more specifically, we see the 1k as a way of people participating that may not be able to walk much or very far. But, this will be the route that’ll be around the Flats so, it’ll be an easy walk. You can take as much time as you need to complete it. This is not a competitive run. It’s participatory.”