On Saturday, October 4th, The Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia, Thrive! Halifax (Maritime Forces Atlantic, Capital Health, and the Halifax Regional Municipality, including members of Halifax Fire), and FX101.9 Country Music ‘hugged’ for mental health at the Halifax Shopping Centre to kick off Mental Illness Awareness Week (Oct.5-11).
HUGS for Mental Health is a fundraising and awareness initiative of the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia. It encourages people to ‘reach out’ and show support for mental health programs and services by making a small cash or text donation – a hug.
The event was a great success, raising over $2,400. It also worked to spread awareness. Teams of volunteers were stationed throughout the mall with signs displaying mental health information and statistics. The teams were composed of five individuals, featuring members from each of the participating organizations and representing the 1 in 5 Nova Scotians affected by mental illness. Volunteers from Maritime Forces Atlantic and Halifax Fire were dressed in uniform.
Some notable volunteers in attendance include Lt. Col John Crook, and HRM’s Deputy CAO, Mike Labrecque.
HUGS teams were frequently approached by individuals who were happy to see mental illness being discussed openly in public. Many shared their own experiences with mental health problems. Others said that the event had given them hope- It was inspiring to see community members standing up and speaking out for the cause.
The Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia would like to extend its gratitude to all those who volunteered their time for this event, all who donated, and to Halifax Shopping Centre and FX 101.9 for partnering with HUGS!
You can still send a HUG, all year-round! Simply text the word HUGS to the number 45678. $5.00 will be charged through your mobile provider.