© Scott Anderson
Participants in the 17th Annual Jimmy Richardson Walk for Wellness hosted by the Canadian Mental Health Association Swift Current Branch had ideal weather for their walk to Market Square on Saturday.
It was with both pride and purpose that participants and supporters took to the streets this past Saturday for the 17th Annual Jimmy Richardson Walk for Wellness hosted by the Canadian Mental Health Association Swift Current Branch.
The Walk is part of the ongoing campaign for the local non-profit organization to create awareness, raise much needed funds, and shine a light on a multitude of mental health issues that affect so many today. Statistically, approximately 50 per cent of visits to family physicians are related to concerns involving emotional and psychiatric disorders, and that mental health issues are the second leading cause of death among young people.
Approximately 30 participants joined in the Walk from the CMHA’s building at 176 4th Avenue N.W. to Market Square.
While the attendance numbers were not as large as organizers hoped, the event remains an important awareness opportunity for the CMHA Branch.
“Though I feel like we are small, we are mighty because those who do come have a strong belief in the cause,” explained Swift Current Branch Executive Director Ruth Smith.
This marked the second year the Walk for Wellness has joined with Market Square, a partnership that exposes their message to a larger audience. Smith also appreciated the participation of Mayor Jerrod Schafer in speaking at Market Square.
“I think that any time you have an opportunity to have again more voices and having our Mayor being one of those voices is really powerful,” she said.
Smith shared that they are hoping the funds raised this year meet their goal permitting them to purchase a new vehicle for the Centre. This will allow them to expand the opportunities and events that they can take the Centre’s participants to. Leisure activities offer an opportunity to enrich clients lives by interacting with others in the local community, create a sense of purpose and empower them to be a part of social environments by enjoying things such as shooting a game of pool at Lucky Charlie’s, going out to the golf course driving range, or pleasure trips for ice cream.
Smith highlighted the importance of keeping this message out in the community and sharing the need for outside support and involvement from local businesses.
“I think for everything we do, whenever we are doing anything, awareness becomes a part of our mandate because I think mental health issues are becoming less stigmatized but there still is that stigma out there for mental health issues”.
The Centre has between 18 and 25 people a day who come for dinner and cannot rely on government funding to meet its needs and budget. In addition the Swift Current Drop in Centre also offers social, recreational, educational and work programs.