Monday, July 20, 2009

Toronto Pep Rally

July 17

This was a Really Big Day for us. To say it was amazing and awesome is an understatement. It's taken a few days to digest it all. Margaret Zanel, Lesley Pauze and their committee, working closely with the Toronto Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association produced an event that drew over 400 participants to Trinity Square in the Distilery District in downtown Toronto. Friends and family were there, a contingent from Ceridian, volunteers and supporters from the Canadian Mental Health Association - Toronto Branch, and of course Xerox.

The swirling kilts and swirling bagpipe music of the Scarborough Pipes and Drums wove through the crowd-filled courtyard. MC Jim Doherty stood at the podium weaving a story as he does so well, most of it was true. The cheque presentation was enormous - well, the cheques were and the amounts.

Lindsay spoke on behalf of consumer survivors everywhere, giving people a glimpse into the devastating impact mental illness can have on a life.

Mel told the audience a bit of our story, and a bit of The Ride for Mental Health story. But mainly he just said how it is and that it shouldn't be. Mental disorders are all too common. There are too many barriers for people looking for help for mental illness, inadequate access to treatment and not enough support services. Symptoms of mental illness most often begin in young people between the ages of 16 and 24. Who's helping them? Dr. Goldbloom of The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Board of Directors of the Canadian Mental Health Association - Toronto Branch and Vice Chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada said "Mel is right". He said better treatments are needed and research is woefully underfunded. And Councillor Mike Feldman from the Toronto City Council shared his very personal connection to mental illness illustrating the pain for parents and family members that is all part of living with mental illness.

The initiave for change starts with awareness. We will change attitudes about mental illness and make a difference. Dr. Goldbloom referred to us a "social movement".
Uh,groovy man, like, right on. I haven't been a social movement for a long time. Keep on truckin'. . . well, RV'n anyway.


  1. Greetings Mel Thompson!
    I'm glad to know that there are some people involved in the issue of helping people with any kind of mental illness.
    According to stats, which are clear, mental illness is a common situation in which most of people get involved even if they don't know it.