Mental Health Awareness Night aims to de-stigmatize mental health issues

MOUNT FOREST – Mental health advocate and former Team Canada hockey player Kendra Fisher will be guest speaker at a coming event here aimed at de-stigmatizing mental health issues.

The free event is being held in the Mount Forest and District Sportsplex community hall on Feb. 24 at 6:30pm.

The event will also highlight what resources are available locally.

“After recently dealing with yet another tragedy in our community, a group of local, concerned people felt they needed to do something here in Mount Forest,” stated Angie Weber, one of the event organizers.

“They wanted to do something to bring people together, to educate the community, to de-stigmatize mental health and to uncover the services that are available in our area.  It takes a community … because doing it alone is not possible.”

She then noted Fisher, “who is well-known in Bruce, Grey and Perth counties, agreed to come to our community to share her personal story.”

Weber then thanked the Mount Forest Legion, Get in Touch For Hutch, Reeves Construction and the Township of Wellington North for bringing the “inspirational speaker” to the community.

Fisher is a hockey player, wife, mother and a firefighter who grew up in Kincardine. With support of her family and town behind her, Fisher quickly achieved successes in her hockey career.

About 19 years ago, when provided with the opportunity to realize her dream of goaltending for Team Canada, Fisher was diagnosed with severe anxiety disorder coupled with panic attacks, agoraphobia and depression, forcing her to leave the program in order to seek help and to learn how to live with what had become a crippling disease.

Fisher is now sharing her personal journey and joining the efforts to bring mental health issues to the forefront.

Weber said Fisher hopes her story will offer promise to others dealing with mental health issues and provide another platform for discussions aimed at de-stigmatizing mental health.

In addition to Fisher’s presentation, community agencies and support systems will be setting up booths and will be available to offer education and support.

Grab bags, filled with information and the available supports, will be handed out to all guests.

At the time of publication, the following support agencies had committed to being available: CMHA, Here24/7, HOPE, Here4Hope, Make it Wright, Get in Touch For Hutch, Wes For Youth, Family Health Network, Community Addictions Services, OPP, Suicide Prevention and New Growth.