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Calgary mall serves as hub for Mental Illness Awareness Week

Patrons at The Core in downtown Calgary take part in a stress relieving drumming class. The YMCA-run class is one of the events the shopping mall has offered as part of  Mental Illness Awareness Week.
Patrons at The Core in downtown Calgary take part in a stress relieving drumming class. The YMCA-run class is one of the events the shopping mall has offered as part of Mental Illness Awareness Week. Global News

A Calgary shopping mall is putting itself right in the centre of a mental health awareness campaign.

In conjunction with local mental health agencies, The Core Shopping Centre is hosting several stress-relieving events and activities this week as part of Mental Illness Awareness Week and National Depression Screening Day.

“We’re kind of the hub of downtown Calgary, The Core, so we just wanted a space where everyone comes together,” said Caron Anderson, The Core’s acting marketing director, on Wednesday.

“It’s comfortable, it’s approachable, it’s safe,” she said.

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Through offering therapy dogs, massages and fitness classes, The Core is hoping to take advantage of its lunch-hour crowds to bring people in where they can begin to open up the conversation about depression.

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“Forty-six per cent of Albertans report experiencing some symptoms of depression and yet we know that most of [them] will not seek help,” said Cathy Keough of the Calgary Counselling Centre, one of The Core’s four partner agencies.
National Depression Screening Day draws attention to mental health
National Depression Screening Day draws attention to mental health

Keough said depression, in particular, is “extremely treatable” and the opportunity to provide information and education in a highly visible and public setting like the mall ensures they are continuing to bring the conversation about depression and mental health to light.

While the YMCA led participants through an energetic drumming class, Keough and her crew pointed patrons to a free and anonymous online depression screening test.

“It’s proven to be a real first step, a safer step people can take to then get help if they need to,” said Luiza Campos, the CCC’s director of marketing and communications.

She said the test only takes about three to four minutes to complete.

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In addition to the YMCA and the CCC, The Core has also partnered with the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Suicide Prevention Centre. The mall will continue offering events, activities and information through the remainder of the week.