They rose up into the night; beacons of light drifting through the blue-black night like stars. That was the scene on Oct. 6 as the Healthy Minds peer support group released dozens of Chinese lanterns into the night sky to celebrate Mental Illness awareness week.
Healthy Minds is a support group for people dealing with mental illness and/or addiction as well as those who have family members or loved ones that suffer from mental illness and addiction. They hold weekly meetings on Mondays at the Stuart Lake General Hospital.
Nearly 50 people showed up throughout the evening to show their support for mental health including councillor Dave Birdi, a group of drummers from Nak’azdli Band and representatives from Northern Health who said,
“I believe those suffering from mental illness are truly heroes in our community.”
Drummers performed a series of traditional songs followed be a powerful speech from co-founder of Healthy Minds Greg Kovacs.
The celebration was part of Healthy Minds ongoing work to remove the stigma surrounding mental illness and addiction in Canada. Kovacs hoped that by holding this pubic event it would help to foster inclusiveness and a dialogue about mental illness.
The idea to release the chinese lanterns was symbolic said Kovacs intending the lanterns to represent a light in the darkness that is peer support for those in need.