Local mental health advocates Mallory Smith and Paul Laberge are getting out their walking shoes in support of mental health awareness.
Smith is Program Development Manager at the Libbie Young Centre, which seeks to provide life skills, supportive living, day programming, educational services and a reliable source of support, restoring balance in a time of crisis and enhancing the overall quality of life.
Recently, it was announced the Centre would be partnering with Let’s Walk the Talk, Laberge’s mental health advocacy program. As part of this, Smith will be joining him as he walks from Regina to Lloydminster this summer, raising awareness for mental health and suicide and fundraising for initiatives supporting good self-care.
They’re currently trying to raise $50,000 to hire a Community Outreach Worker, who would provide in-home mental health support services for up to 30 adults weekly, as well as provide advocacy and direct people to support resources.
Smith says their goal right now is to foster an open, honest and stigma-free conversation around mental health.
“We’re seeing a lot more applications come in, we’re seeing a lot of people struggling. We’re hoping to bridge some of those gaps in the community. We want to generate some conversations, provide opportunities for advocacy, just generate more support for everyone and create an inclusive community that can support each other with mental health.”
The pandemic is not only putting a strain on physical medical resources, but it’s also doing this for mental health resources. By having this program in place, it will help the Libbie Young Centre bridge the gap as people are waiting to get to the next level of therapeutic help.
Smith explains that could come in several forms depending on the needs of the person seeking support needs.
“Whether its that education that somebody needs, that’s going to improve their life, knowing more about mental health diagnoses, knowing how to learn coping strategies that work most effectively for them, that’s where those programs are going to be vital.”
Smith also added a message of mindfulness, saying it’s an important practice in someone boosting their own mental health as they work with supports.
“[Find] something that you can do for yourself, within that five minutes every day, that you can focus on. Whether that’s going for a walk, getting that fresh air, reading a book, whatever that activity is that speaks to you, that the thing that you’ve got to make sure you make time for.”
The Let’s Walk The Talk walk in support of mental health will begin in Regina on August 28th and end on September 10th, which is World Suicide Prevention Day. People can donate on the Let’s Walk The Talk website, or the Libbie Young Centre site when it is operational in mid-May.