Supporting mental health one step at a time

Raise awareness towards mental health and break the stigma around it at the Markham Mental Health Awareness Walk.

The first annual walk will be taking place on July 8 at the Markham Civic Centre. Join the Youth and Parents Association of Markham as they team up with the City of Markham to discuss mental health and promote a positive well-being in the community.

The Youth and Parents Association of Markham said they have found through child and parent communications and focus groups that mental health has become a stigmatic topic. The organization said that for these reasons, their goal for the walk is to raise awareness and discussion on mental health.

“Let’s say 300 people participate in the walk. Those 300 people are going to speak about it to at least one individual, which makes it 600 people who are now talking about mental health. That’s how we’re raising awareness,” said Rukshan Para, executive director of the Youth and Parents Association of Markham.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 10-20 per cent of youth have a mental illness, but only one of five children receive help.

“There’s a false belief that someone who has a mental illness or mental disorder is considered violent or puts others in danger, and many other false impressions. It’s not true. It’s just a false belief. We just say ‘you are mental,’ which is wrong,” said Para. “In my perspective, the word ‘mental’ should be eliminated. Bringing community groups and everybody together shows inclusivity and allows us to embrace change. It’s not a stigmatic topic, it’s a cure. This is a cure to get back to your life.”

The Youth and Parents Association of Markham concentrates on the growth and development of children, as well as parent involvement in their children’s lives. The non-profit organization encourages learning through social activities and provides services that are free of cost.

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