Every year, one in five Canadians will personally experience a mental health illness according to the Canadian Mental Health Association. Which means all of us will be impacted in our lifetime—either directly, or by supporting a friend, family member, colleague, or neighbor. Even more debilitating, half of those affected won’t seek help or visit their doctor, due to the stigma of mental illness and/or a sense of shame. Most of us don’t recognize the symptoms, don’t know how to help, and don’t know how to develop healthy habits to reduce the impact or severity of mental health issues.
The good new is this is changing! People are talking, and people are listening, learning, and discussing mental health. Bell Canada is one of a growing number of organizations dedicated to making a difference. In 2010 Bell initiated their “Let’s Talk Day,” and since then Bell has raised more than $86 million. This year, Bell’s “Let’s Talk Day” takes place on Wednesday, January 31, and they’ll donate 5¢ for every text, call, tweet, social media video view, Facebook frame or Snapchat geofilter that day.
“I had some experience in dealing with people who have mental illness and depression, but I didn’t see the signs in myself. I couldn’t ask for help because I didn’t know I needed help.”
~ Canadian Olympian, Clara Hughes
Six-time Canadian Olympic medalist Clara Hughes is no stranger to mental illness and the benefits of sport and physical activity. Not only is she the only Canadian to win multiple medals in both the Summer (cycling) and Winter (speed skating) Olympics, she has struggled with depression, and willingly shares her story as Bell’s national spokesperson for “Let’s Talk Day.”
Closer to Pure Vibe owner Dominica Bay’s heart is the AJ Bay Foundation that she started in 2006. Over the past 12 years The AJ Bay Foundation has raised over $160,000 for BC Mental Health Research, Mind Check, and an annual scholarship to VCC’s Music Program. The foundation was started in memory of her brother AJ Bay to prevent further tragedies with research funds to develop more effective meds, better access for young adults that are uninsured while developing The Mind Check App providing FREE support 24/7.
“Even when we tried to get him help we were turned away from several walk in clinics refusing to give a referral to see a Psychiatrist and then denied help at VGH Emergency, as “his case was not severe enough.” A few weeks later he went missing and after a 6-week nation wide search his body was found. As I witness him being placed into a black rubber body bag I knew I could not rely on the medical system if I wanted to save and protect myself and my family which is why I took matters into my own hands and created THE VIBE LIFE to self medicate making it my mission to help others heal restoring confidence, strength and health.” Dominica Bay
Proving it is possible for all Dominica’s brother Justin who has paranoid schizophrenia and hears 12 different negative voices all day still manages to follow THE VIBE LIFE as best he can getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, following a plant-based diet, exercising daily and fighting to stay positive even though he is very sick and feels awful. If everyone lived THE VIBE LIFE 60-70% of hospital beds would be empty and those extra tax dollars could go towards research and helping those like Justin who was dealt a rotten genetic hand and developed a resistance for his meds (clozapine) causing them to become ineffective for the past 9 years so there is now nothing any Psychiatrist can prescribe due to lack of research funds since nothing else exists. So if you won the lottery and were born with a sound mind, 2 arms, 2 legs and a spine you have NO EXCUSE to be out of shape and burden on the community instead of a contributor.
VIBE MANTRA: The fitter and stronger you are the more you can help others.