Celebrating partnership: Outrun the Stigma and Distress Centre Calgary
By: David Lau, Special Projects Assistants Director
Outrun the Stigma is excited to be celebrating our fourth year of partnership with Distress Centre Calgary (DCC) for our Calgary run event. Our partnership has supported the valuable services DCC offers to the community such as 24 hour crisis support, professional counselling, and referrals. “We are extremely grateful for our partnership with Outrun the Stigma,” says Lindsay Douglas, Distress Centre Calgary, "the hard work and passion of the Outrun the Stigma team is inspiring and impressive.”
Our partnership began in 2013 when Outrun the Stigma was a joint-initiative between two University of Calgary student clubs, Distress Centre on Campus and Mental Health Awareness club. Amy Li and Leah Shipton, then both undergraduate students and executives of these respective clubs, spearheaded the organization of the first annual Outrun the Stigma Calgary run/walk. The goal of this event was to end stigmatization of mental health through fundraising, community engagement, and mental health resource distribution. Outrun the Stigma Calgary was seeking to support these goals by partnering with a local organization involved in providing community mental health services.
Amy Li, being a volunteer at DCC and also the founder of Distress Centre on Campus and the co-founder Outrun the Stigma, felt DCC was a natural fit for a partnership. “I started the Distress Centre on Campus Club because when I first started volunteering [at DCC] I realized a lot of students on campus didn't know about the services offered by DCC or really any support services in the community,” says Amy Li. “So after Leah and I decided that we wanted to create a mental health run and bring the two clubs together to work on it, it felt natural to partner with DCC. We believed in their mission and impact in the community.” This connection marked our inaugural partnership with a local mental health charity.
The first annual Outrun the Stigma Calgary run/walk event was a success, raising $5,000 for DCC and drawing hundreds of runners, walkers, and volunteers from the community. A resource fair with booths from various community organizations, including DCC, offered opportunities for participants to learn more about support services and resources in the community.