There is no health without mental health.
This September, I'll be running to support mental health programming and services in Peterborough, Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton and Northumberland through the Canadian Mental Health Association, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge (C.M.H.A. H.K.P.R.).
One in five Canadians will personally experience a mental health concern in any given year. Mental illness does not discriminate -- it affects people of all ages, education, income levels, and cultures. By age 40, 50 per cent of the population will have or have had a mental illness.
My name is Ashleigh Elverson and I live with bipolar II, generalized anxiety, and PTSD. I am proud to be returning as a participant of the Run for Mental Health, in benefit of the Canadian Mental Health Association. I have been utilizing resources from this organization for a few years now, ranging from therapy, to psychiatric care, to employment supports.
It can be scary to recieve a mental health diagnosis, especially when it comes to navigating what your support systems are. Having resources in our community like CMHA that aim to protect and support vulnerable populations can make a world of difference-- one that can turn surviving into thriving. Whether you are receiving services for your mental health or in proximity to someone who is, you know how important it is to have somehwere to go.
If you know me, you know that I'm quick to disclose and I am very open about my experiences. Mental health services that I have been tremendously lucky to receive are part of why I am able to be here and speak. Having the reminder that I have services to lean on and knowing that they are always there to remind me of my potential is a safety net I feel blessed to have. Unfortunately, access to care is not always easy.
I do the Run for Mental Health for many reasons:
- I want to honour the resources that have helped me
- I want to do it for my personal experiences and my values
- I want to do it for the family and friends I have watched struggle, for the gut clenching experience of navigating crisis without having any direction
- I want to do it for the people who need to be reminded that they are not alone, that they are having valid experiences, and that there is a world on the horizon that will recognize our realities.
We all are part of this conversation in some way!
If you can afford the time and money to do so, I do hope that you will come with me and walk/run/shout/talk in solidarity with this interconnected universe of people who share in this journey. You may also make a donation if that suits you better-- this is my page, but honestly anyone in the world be touched to have your support. Do note there are many other ways to advocate for mental health if you do not have the funds to do this-- you are still part of the change!
Thank you, thank you, thank you. My heart beats for the possibilities this brings.