The Southeastern Regional Suicide Prevention Committee (RSPC) is ecstatic over the culmination of their regional Out of the Blue campaign. The Blue Carpet gala was held on May 31st at the Brass Lantern. Attended by 225 guests dressed in an ocean of blue, awards were handed out to groups and individuals who have raised a New Voice to Mental Health.
Guests were also treated to a laugh-inducing performance by Big Daddy Tazz, a local comedian living well with mental illness. Big Daddy Tazz sheds light on mental illness, promotes mental health and fights the stigma tht reigns over them. The crowd was moved to a standing ovation and the sense that all the mental health champions in the room were not about to end their efforts, even though the campaign has been put to rest for some months.
Acole Saint-Joachim in La Broquerie and Shevchenko School in Vita were the stars of the evening, taking home many awards in categories like Blue Video, Blue Lunch, Blue Expressions and many others. Individuals from the community were also awarded prizes for literary and visual contributions. Businesses including Sunshine Greenhouse (Steinbach) and Shop Easy Foods (St-Malo) and community groups like St-Pierre en Boom also were winning participants.
But according to Deb Taillefer, Regional Mental Health Program Manager with South Eastman Health: “The real winners are all the residents of the South East as we take huge leaps toward breaking down barriers and reducing stigma attached to mental health and mental illness. The campaign that the entire community embraced so readily was supposed to get people talking about mental health, promote help seeking behaviours and spread hope. Given the overwhelming success of our activities we are confident that we’ve made progress within the region.”
Taillefer reminds us that suicide is an ongoing problem and that the RSPC will continue their efforts. They are all looking forward to reviewing the campaign and hope to re-launch an even bigger project next year.
Suzie Lemoine, Communications
South Eastman Health/Santé Sud-Est