Humber College’s Lakeshore campus held its first Move for Mental Health Awareness five-kilometre race yesterday.
“The goal of it is to raise awareness about the benefits of exercise for mental health, also, to raise awareness about the services Humber has for students such as counseling services,” said Lakeshore campus event coordinator Tom Haxell.
Organizers were expecting around 100 people to show for the event, and reached that goal.
The driver behind the race is David Harris, founder of the not-for-profit organization Cameron Helps, who lost his son to suicide in February 2005. He’s adamant in the belief that he would not have been able to handle his loss as well had he not been in good health, thanks to running.
“I can only imagine how I would have handled things if I wasn’t physically well and mentally well at the time,” said Harris during a speech just before the run. “Running has become part of me. It’s a coping strategy that helps me deal with all the issues that I have in my life.”
Cameron Helps works with schools, hosting races like the one at Lakeshore to promote suicide prevention among teens and reduce the stigma regarding teen mental health.
Humber’s Nursing degree program was also involved in the run.
The nursing students had a booth set up with different brochures and facts about mental health and illness from Cameron Helps’ website and Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences.
“We’re here to give people information if they are struggling,” said Reema Singh, a third year Bachelor of Nursing student who was working at the booth. “We have reading material on statistics of mental health, such as ‘one in five Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime,’ as well as where to go on campus if you need help.”
For more information on Cameron Helps, go to Cameronhelps.ca. Students can find the types of counseling assistance Humber College offers at humber.ca.