October 10, 2016 9:56 pm

New Brunswick Community comes together to raise mental health awareness

Adrienne South/Global News

Miramichi residents and mental health advocates took part in the third annual Awareness Walk as part of World Mental Health day.

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Executive Director of the Caring Friends Activity Centre Beatrice Loggie says a recent tragedy made the walk evening more meaningful this year. Loggie tells Global News her husband committed suicide just over a year ago.

“There was not a whole lot of warning. It was a shock it was probably the biggest shock that we’ll have to survive,” Loggie said.

She says events like this are important reminders of the need to talk openly about mental health.

According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, 60 per cent of people living with a mental health illness won’t seek help because they’re afraid of  being labeled or judged.

Miramichi-Grand Lake Liberal MP Patrick Finnigan was one of dozens in attendance. Finnigan says it’s great to see the community come together to raise awareness.

“There’s always a stigma attached to mental illness, yet I think the stats are that one in five [people] suffer either short-term or long-term [from mental illness], so it’s an illness like anything else,” Finnigan said.

He says the more people talk about mental health, the more that can be done to help people who are suffering — especially those who are going through things alone.

Loggie says World Mental Health day doesn’t usually fall on the Thanksgiving holiday. She says she contemplated cancelling the event this year for fear of low-participation, but decided that holidays can be the hardest time for people to be alone. Loggie  says that everyone who did show up was “worth their weight in gold”.

“As much as I didn’t think it was worth doing it — It was worth doing it,” Loggie said.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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