Jason Fisher serves up barbecue fare at last year’s Defeat Depression Walk. This year’s walk takes place on Sunday

Cooking up support

Volunteer Jason Fisher wants you to get involved with the 4th Annual Defeat Depression Walk set for Sunday, May 29.

“It means a lot to me because we’re raising awareness not just for depression, but all kinds of mental health issues, and we get a lot of funds for the club.”

The public can register/donate/purchase merchandise for the fundraising event at http://mdsc.akaraisin.com/CampbellRiver2016.

Fisher is a member of the Campbell River Beacon Club, and he will be helping at the event again this year, cooking hot dogs for the after-walk barbecue. Monies raised through participant pledges, sponsor donations andbarbecue sales will help the club provide meals and activities for its 70-plus members for the year.

Since 1993 the club has helped adults with mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD and anxiety. Fisher joined on the recommendation of his clinician at Mental Health Substance Use to help with his anxiety.

“They said I should try to do more social things because you end up isolating yourself when you have depression and anxiety,” he said. “You can be yourself here, it’s a safe place to go where people understand mental health issues.”

Fisher enjoys weekly activities such as Mindfulness and Friday Dinners, but what he likes the best is the trips he takes with the club to other Island communities. Last year the club did an overnight trip to Gold River and took the Uchuck boat to Friendly Cove.

“It really means a lot to me because it’s a trip I’ve always wanted to do on my own, but may never have gotten the chance to otherwise,” he said.

Fisher added he’s made a lot of good friends at the Beacon Club and in fact, it’s very much like a family. He advises if you learn you have mental illness, you don’t have to go it alone because there are a lot of local resources to help, including the club.

“There’s a level of genuine care here, from the staff and the other members,” he said. “It makes me feel empowered, in that I can do things despite my mental illness, with the support of the right people. I don’t feel isolated, I feel more like I belong.”

Through his involvement with the club he learned about the Dinner Bell program, a joint job-readiness program of MHSU and the Salvation Army. MHSU clients receive hands-on training to work in the food services industry. They also prepare homemade, economical frozen meals for other MHSU clients to purchase. Fisher started out as student, became a mentor and is now Chef Assistant to Red Seal Chef/Instructor Connie Preston. They and their Dinner Bell team will be operating the barbecue at the Defeat Depression Walk again this year.

Registration begins 9:30 a.m. at the longhouse in Ostler Park and the 4km walk begins 11 a.m. For more information contact Robyn at campbellriver@defeatdepression.ca or 250-286-8828.