Walkers march off from the longhouse at Robert Ostler Park on Sunday in the Defeat Depression Walk. Over 165 people took part in the walk.

Campbell River turns out to defeat depression

Organizers were hoping for at least 50 participants; They were surprised and delighted when over 165 people came

Defeat Depression events took place in over two dozen communities across Canada on Sunday to raise awareness about mental illness, reduce stigma, and to encourage Canadians to become more involved with their mental well being.

In Campbell River people gathered under mostly sunny skies; first in ones and twos as volunteers from the Beacon Club, BC Schizophrenia Society, Peer Support Workers from VIHA Mental Health and Substance Abuse and others came to help set up tables, put up banners, and generally arrange everything. Then they began arriving in threes, fours, and groups larger still as those who were participating in support Campbell River’s first Defeat Depression Walk started to arrive.

The organizers were hoping for at least 50 participants. They were surprised and delighted when over 165 people came to show their support and help shine a light on depression, an illness that is regarded by many as shameful and something best not talked about.

Just before the 11 a.m. start, Barbara Swanston, one of the organizers spoke to the crowd.

She told them she was there because she had lost her son, Terry, to suicide in August 2010, a result of suffering from a profound depression. She said he would not go for help because he felt ashamed and worthless, a typical result of the stigma that keeps people silent. Two other organizers have children who died by suicide and all of organizing committee have experience with mental illness either themselves or close family members.

Unlike cancer or diabetes, depression and suicide are still not talked about openly as the topic makes many people uncomfortable. Telling a friend that a loved one has died by suicide can get a much different reaction than if they had died of a stroke or cancer. Often there is just silence as people don’t know what to say.

Swanston pointed out that there is a difference between mental health and mental illness. If you have a brain, you have mental health (we all have mental health) and anyone can fall victim to mental illness – a disruption in their mental health.

She went on to say that like any other serious illness, depression can be fatal and the fatality is by suicide. People complete suicide to end their unendurable pain yet society often judges them as weak or selfish. Tragically, many other major illnesses, that have seen death rates lowered in the last hundred years, suicide is on the rise.

Then Swanston introduced Kelly Paul whose group Heliset Hale (Awaken the Life Within You) Marathon came to support the walk. They are running the length of Vancouver Island to raise awareness about suicide and create a message of hope and encouragement to cherish life came to give their support. They will be in Campbell River May 29 – June 2 (visit www.helisethalemarathon.com). Paul lost her brother to suicide four years ago.  He was 17.

In conclusion, Swanston said that people are reluctant to talk about or mention the names of those lost to suicide. She asked people to take a moment of silence to remember a loved one they had lost to suicide or any means. The crowd fell silent and there were tears in many eyes as they remembered lost loved ones. Then she asked people to turn to someone in the crowd and say that name out loud. She spoke the names of her son, Terry, and also Greg, Josie Laslo’s son, and Hayden, Barb Kozeletski’s daughter, who also died by suicide. Josie and Barb are fellow organizers.

Then a sea of blue Defeat Depression T-shirts and posters began the 4 km. walk from the longhouse at Robert V. Ostler Park to Sequoia Park opposite Campbell River Museum and back.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mayor Andy Adams receives the First Poppy for 2020 from Campbell River Legion Branch 137 Vice-President Alain Chatigny CD. The annual Poppy Campaign officially starts Oct. 30. Photo submitted
Poppy Campaign kicks off Oct. 30

Mayor Andy Adams received the First Poppy for 2020 from Campbell River… Continue reading

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
RCMP caution about sharing intimate images

Images are hard to take down once posted, warn RCMP

The Campbell River Chapter of Cystic Fibrosis Canada held a successful fundraiser on the weekend, Quest4CF. The scavenger hunt on wheels raised more than $15,000. Photo by Erin Wallis
Campbell River’s Quest 4 CF a big success in its first go-round

Event raised funds for cystic fibrosis awareness and research

RCMP
RCMP know of witnesses to Oct. 15 attack; want them to come forward

Appeal made to their ‘sense of right and wrong’

B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan arrives at Luxton Hall to cast their votes in advance polls for the provincial election in Langford, B.C., Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Pandemic election prompts voter suppression claims by B.C. Liberals

‘These emergencies require in us a maturity that has been lacking in politics for so long’

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of possibly decades-old airplane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of UBC geoscientists discovered the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

Most Read