Nfld. & Labrador

Open to the public, The Launch invites you to talk about mental illness

A new group is hosting its first event this week in St. John's in the hopes of raising awareness — and funding — for mental health services.
Patrick Hickey, 16, is one of the organizers of Wednesday's event to be hosted by the Community Coalition for Mental Health, aiming at raising awareness for mental health services. (CBC)

A new group is hosting its first event this week in St. John's in the hopes of raising awareness  and funding  for mental health services.

The Community Coalition for Mental Health is holding what it's calling The Launch at Holy Heart Theatre on Wednesday evening.

Well-known politicians and performers, including MHA Gerry Rogers, writer-actor Andy Jones, and Republic of Doyle actor Linda Boyd, have helped organize the event.

The most horrible thing about being in a state of depression, and I've been in some pretty dark places, and it's that feeling of alone, and I don't wish that on anybody.- Linda Boyd

Boyd said she'll be speaking about mental illness at the event, letting people know something they may not realize about her — that she's battled depression for decades.

"The most horrible thing about being in a state of depression, and I've been in some pretty dark places, and it's that feeling of alone, and I don't wish that on anybody. It's better to be a community, and that's what this coalition is all about," she said.

Boyd said it's time for people to get rid of the stigma surrounding mental illness, and work together to come up with solutions instead.

Other event organizers, like Patrick Hickey, said the coalition is hoping to bring people together, but is also aiming to make some changes in government.

Hickey, 16, said he's frustrated by the a lack of services available when he's tried to help friends with mental illness issues.

"I think the event will be a success if we can create awareness around mental health and educate the public on mental health and mental wellness, but we are also hoping to catalyze the change we need to see regarding mental health services in the province," said Hickey.

"Over the past two years there has been a 12 per cent cut to the current existing mental health services. We would like to see those cuts reversed, and we would also like to see more mental health services provided."

The Launch is open to the public, and will be held on Wednesday at 7 p.m.