May 21, 2024

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A range of activities including a talent and fashion show are being held to commemorate this year’s Mental Health Week.

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Other activities include flag raising ceremonies in Brantford and Norfolk as well as workshops and award presentations.

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“The theme of this year’s Mental Health Week is ‘Healing through Compassion,’ said Lill Petrella of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk Branch. “Compassion is something that connects us and has been called the secret to well-being.

“Showing compassion is particularly powerful for our mental health and well-being.”

Petrella said showing that we care and expressing kindness can have a positive impact on someone’s mood. It has calming effects and helps regulate distress.

Mental Health Week takes place May 6 to 10.

Local activities have been organized annually by the mental health week planning committee for close to 20 years. The committee includes representatives from more than 20 local social service organizations including the local CMHA branch and Woodview Mental Health and Autism Services.

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“The world is such an overwhelming place,” Petrella said. “A lot of people are looking for love, comfort and peace so we’re encouraging people to remember to be kind because compassion connects us all.”

The fashion and talent show – Mask It – has been organized by Aidan Lefebvre and takes place May 4 and 5 at Rossini Lodge, 140 Grey St. Show times are 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. both days.

“The show is all about inclusion and diversity,” Lefebvre said. “You will see singers, songwriters, dancers, performers and designers of every race, ethnicity and nationality.”

Lefebvre said the show includes performers who have been nominated for Juno awards and designers presenting the latest fashion trends.

The show’s line-up includes GIRL POW-R, a group that was nominated for the Juno’s ‘Album of the Year in the children’s category in 2020.

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“One of the greatest benefits of this year’s show is that we’re asking local youth to be involved,” Lefebvre said. “Several talent and model scouts will be attending and we’ll have an open mic to give local youth a chance to do a skit or spice up a jam.”

The idea behind the show is to connect to a cause, which also connects to masks, Lefebvre said.

“There are more than 900-plus invisible mental health disabilities and you will never know a person has an issue unless they show or tell you,” Lefebvre said. “The concept this year is that the models will be wearing the masks down the runway, but when they welcome the designers on the catwalk they will remove their masks – symbolizing them shedding their mental disability.”

By removing the mask, the models are telling people that a mental disability or challenge is a separate entity and no one should be judged based on their challenges. Rather they should be accept for who they truly are, Lefebvre said.

For more information visit the BHN Mental Health Week Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cmhabranthaldimandnorfolk and the MASK IT Facebook page at

www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100082987194085 .

V[email protected]

twitter.com/EXPVBall

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