The families and friends will be walking to remember those who’ve lost their lives to mental illness. On September 14, the ninth annual Walk of Remembrance will take place at Bud Miller Park.

The walk is in conjunction with World Suicide Prevention Day. Walk to Remember planning committee co-chair Neil Harris says there has been a shift across Canada in the public awareness of mental health.

“It seems to be more people, companies and organizations are open to talking about mental health recognizing that it’s nothing to be hidden or be ashamed of. It’s a health condition like any other health condition like cancer or diabetes.”

The walk is an opportunity for families and people who have gone through the same experience to talk with each other about the struggles of losing a loved one. Harris says he’s happy to hear more open conversations surrounding mental health illness.

“It seems like there is a lot of awareness and that’s a good thing because it gets people talking and hopefully it reduces the stigma around talking about mental health issues and really encouraging people that it’s okay to ask for help. It’s a sign of strength to ask for help and there is help available in our region.”

On average, 50 to 100 people take part in the walk every year. As part of the walk, each person will receive a carnation to carry as a symbol of the loved one lost to suicide.

The Walk of Remembrance starts at 3 to 6 p.m. at Bud Miller Park and is free to join. Let’s Walk the Talk runner Paul Laberge and other speakers will be at the event sharing their experiences with mental illness.