Our House Edmonton fundraiser shifts focus to mental health awareness

The semicolon tattoo is a symbol of solidarity and support in the mental health community. Kerry McAthey / Global News

Mental health and addiction go hand in hand – that’s the inspiration behind Our House Addiction Recovery Centre’s Summer Solstice BBQ for Sobriety.

“We’re hosting a barbecue, a bake sale, family-friendly lawn games and a whole bunch of other activities geared towards children,” addictions councilor Michael Lange said. “One of the biggest parts of the event is that we’re actually having some tattoo artists come in to do flash-tattoos of a semicolon for mental health awareness.”

“The semicolon represents that the sentence doesn’t stop. When we relate that to mental health, what we want to try and create an awareness about is that one’s life doesn’t stop after their diagnoses.

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Each year, Our House hosts a fundraiser to further its mission of providing a safe, healthy and non-judgmental environment for people to seek the help they need. A focus on awareness for mental health was a logical next step and the message behind the semicolon tattoo goes hand in hand with what the organization strives to do.

“We want to show people out in the community that you are more than your diagnoses,” Lange said. “There is more to your life than what this diagnoses is.”

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The semicolon tattoo is a symbol of solidarity and a visible reminder that those suffering from mental illness are not alone in their struggle.

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According to Lange, addiction and mental health are nearly synonymous issues.

The barbecue will be an opportunity to provide a safe place for those struggling with addiction or who know someone struggling with addiction.

Staff will be on hand to answer any questions from guests, along with information from other treatment centres and the Canadian Mental Health Association.

The Summer Solstice BBQ for Sobriety takes place Saturday at the Our House Addiction Recovery Centre at 22210 Stony Plain Road from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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