We asked our volunteers "Why did you get involved?" - This is what they said
Each year at Outrun the Stigma, we love to hear from our volunteers on why they chose to get involved with this initiative. We heard from a number of our Calgary event volunteers on why they chose to get involved this year. Here is what they had to say:
"It seems like a great cause, and the need to get rid of the stigma is very important as it is not in the light as much as it should be. Mental health issues are taken so lightly, that before its too late we do not take measures to help the people. Also, this might help decrease the rate of suicide rate. thus, I am volunteering, to help get rid of the stigma."
"I would like to get more involved raising awareness in regards to stigma."
"I was recently diagnosed with Type 2 Bipolar Disorder, in addition to the clinical depression I have been successfully managing for nearly 10 years. Living with these invisible diseases can have its challenges, and I would like to do my part to raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health."
"I want to show others with social anxiety it's okay to do the things they want to do!"
"Since, I am a student in University I know of many people who are struggling with anxiety which is a major mental health issue in today's society. Attending this fundraiser I believe is a great way to spread the word and help end mental health stigma which I would love to be a part of."
"I began volunteering with OTS to raise awareness after my youngest brother had his first schizophrenic episode a year ago. It was a very chaotic time because I was the first to find him in his state only a few hours after landing in Canada following my year abroad. His time in the hospital was really hard for the family and we worried if he would ever recover. He was completely unrecognizable for weeks. I do believe people should have faith in the medical system though because my brother made a full recovery and his symptoms are managed well by his medication to this day."
"I am volunteering because I am interested in learning more about mental health. Mental health means everything to me -- without it I would just be a body. My mental health journey is full of peaks and valleys as a result of being a former high school dropout now enrolled in my first year of university."
"I'm volunteering because through my own struggles with anorexia and anxiety, I know how devastating mental health can be. I firmly believe that by starting the conversation and removing some of the stigma, people might be able to get help before things get really bad. A year ago I had to defer my first year of university because anorexia had caused my heart to become dangerously weak. I know first hand how recovery is a continuous journey through life. It is extremely challenging, and sometimes frustrating, but it is also so rewarding and worth it. More than anything I'd like to help increase education around mental health issues and hopefully make it easier for other people to speak up and get help."
"I am fortunate not to have had any severe mental health issues. However, my experience with mental health was on the milder end of the continuum. It simply comes down to overworking, which is a more tangible experience to most people. I neglect taking breaks to eat or refresh my mind, and the aftermath is a mild, almost depressive state. It took me a year to identify and break the cycle but the results are definitely worth it. I purposefully prioritized health over school and consequently both are flourishing! It can be as simple as choosing not to sacrifice sleep for a couple more hours struggling on some project."
"Mental health is something that has impacted my family for many years. Watching your love ones battle to find peace of mind made me feel helpless and defeated. It pains me to know that my loved ones had to wake up every day and fight for their happiness. I want to out run the stigma to empower others to share their mental health struggles and to listen to others who are struggling. I want to encourage others to support their loved ones, and be compassionate and understanding towards those who are overcoming obstacles with mental health."
"When I was in my first year of university, my best friend confessed to me that he was depressed and self-harming. He wasn't seeking out any professional help or resources to help fight against his depression, and I think a big part of that is the stigma surrounding mental health and depression. I want to help reduce that stigma so that people feel like they can reach out and get help when they need it."
"To share comfort with fellow people who have problems and be there for them."
"I am volunteering for OTS because I want to spread awareness about mental health, end the stigma, and support those who are struggling right now. I feel that mental health is important because I have struggled with mental health issues in the past. For 2 years I experienced periods of depression and did not feel empowered enough to seek help. Since I have sought help, my mental health has improved but I still have things to work on. This is why I feel mental health awareness is extremely important. People who are struggling with their mental health deserve to know that they are not alone and that they can seek help without being judged for it."
The entire Outrun the Stigma leadership team would like to thank the incredible volunteers that made Outrun the Stigma Calgary & Outrun the Stigma Edmonton possible. Your dedication to ending mental health stigma inspires us!