Raising awareness about mental health issues

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Campaign runs Feb. 1-3

Olds College Broncos will help raise awareness for mental health initiatives later this week by raising a ruckus.

The Make Some Noise for Mental Health campaign will hit the Olds College campus Feb. 1-3. The college is one of the many members of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference hosting events in January and early February to raise awareness about mental health initiatives.

“I think it’s an awesome, awesome campaign and I’m really happy that the college is making such a big deal about it. It’s a very important event and the word really needs to be spread,” said Cassidy Holt, team captain of the women’s Broncos hockey team.

Holt said campaigns like this can help create safe spaces for people to talk about their struggles.

“I believe it’s a growing concern that people need to be more aware about,” Holt said.

“It’s supposed to get students aware of the whole movement of making the stigma around mental health less of a problem and letting people know how to talk about it,” said Holt’s teammate, Krista Wilson.

Wilson spoke last year at a Make Some Noise for Mental Health pep rally about her own struggles with anxiety and depression.

She said it’s “extremely” important to try and lift the stigmas around mental health and get people to talk about any issues.

“People just don’t understand what it’s like, how hard it is,” she said.

While campaigns like this and Bell Let’s Talk or the semi-colon tattoo movement have helped amplify awareness and dialogue, some people still think depression or other mental health conditions can be simply shaken off.

“Everyone’s fighting a battle,” she said, noting taking her medications is just the same as a diabetic taken an insulin shot.

Wilson’s seen the positive effect the campaign had last year for herself, and said awareness campaigns like Make Some Noise are important.

“It’s nice to see them (the college) get behind it, it just makes such a huge impact on people,” she said, noting last year’s event saw students, teachers and even some of the minor hockey players she coaches come forward to talk to someone about mental health.

“It makes a world of impact,” she said.

Events run Thursday Feb. 1 to Saturday Feb. 3, and include athletic events with a chance to watch the Bronco hockey, volleyball and basketball teams play. On Friday there will be cycling at the CLC Fitness Centre to help raise funds based on the number of kilometres cycled. Prizes and giveaways will be available at the games.

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Victoria Paterson is a Calgary-based freelance writer.