Nova Scotia woman hits the rock wall for mental illness

Michelle LeBlanc is taking on the climbing wall at a community centre in Truro on Sunday to raise money and awareness for mental health, a cause close to her heart.

Michelle LeBlanc to climb 3.5 km in Truro on Sunday to raise money for mental health

Michelle LeBlanc is climbing the rock wall in Truro to raise money for youth recreation programs. (Molly Segal/CBC)

It may be a rock wall, but for one Halifax woman, it will be Mount Everest.

Michelle LeBlanc is taking on the climbing wall at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre in Truro on Sunday to raise money and awareness for mental health, a cause close to LeBlanc’s heart.

"Climbing's always been there as a therapeutic way for me to deal with things," she said. 

"Being able to take situations calmly and not analyze, just be able to respond to situations in a positive way."

LeBlanc will climb the 14-metre wall 250 times, totalling 3.5 kilometres. That's about the height of the trek to the summit of Mount Everest from the base camp in Nepal.

Leblanc said the money she raises by climbing the Kohler Klimbing Wall will go to recreation programs for youth and young adults at the Canadian Mental Health Association in Truro.

She said she wants people to understand how physical activity helps improve mental health. 

“Just to let them know there are other ways to cope with mental health issues," she said.

Susan Henderson, who runs recreation programs in the town, said she is happy "that this community centre would embrace the idea of mental health that's often in the shadows."

Henderson said the money will help some of her clients enjoy activities at the community centre, including climbing.

LeBlanc will start her climb on Sunday at 9 a.m.