60 days of mental health conversations: What makes you stronger?
Calgarians will have the opportunity to share stories of mental health challenges
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For 60 days Calgarians will be able to engage in conversations surrounding how to expunge the stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide, and what makes them stronger.
Beginning Jan. 18, and celebrating their 60th year of supporting mental health in the city, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Calgary region, will be hosting the 60 Conversations in 60 Days initiative with the #NowImStronger theme.
Joy Pavelich, leader of community engagement for the CMHA Calgary region, said the conversations will take many shapes including blog posts, videos and big events like the Calgary Flames mental health game.
“The whole idea is there will be room for people to comment on these stories,” she said. “The call to action is 'what makes you stronger?'”
Pavelich said CMHA will be using the conversations and comments they generate as participatory action research that will be analyzed by their partners at the University of Calgary.
“The U of C is going to analyze it for us and we are going to report back to the community on what they have told us,” she said.
"Where do they find their strength? And that will turn into a guide for us on how to move forward and how we plan our work.”
Steven Leong, executive director of the I Will Survive Association, who is hosting a podcast conversation on Feb. 23, said the event will help dispel myths and remove stigma.
“We believe one of the ways to best do that is to just talk to each other, have these conversations with each other – have the uncomfortable conversations enough times until they become comfortable conversations,” he said.
Both Pavelich and Leong lost mentally-ill loved ones to suicide, and they said the event can help both those with the challenges and those who care for them.
“This tells them that we can work together at finding solutions for what our biggest challenges are,” said Leong.