Edmonton, Alberta – The Edmonton Mental Health Awareness Committee (EMHAC) and approximately 100 supporters kicked off 2017 Mental Health Week today at its first Pancakes and Promises event – a community breakfast for mental health.
The purpose of the event was to bring the Edmonton community together to challenge the stigma of mental illness by talking about it, and to connect community partners with people who may need the support. Participants were encouraged to make a personal promise to prioritize their (or a loved one’s) mental health.
“We believe it takes a community to make a difference, and this event truly solidifies that there is a community of people in Edmonton and area that want to create hope and positive change for people suffering from mental illness,” said Wendy Enberg, Chair of EMHAC. “This event was significant in the fact that local businesses really stepped up to join the community to bring everyone together, and we need more businesses like the Old Strathcona Business Association (OSBA) to help us inspire change and reduce social isolation.”
EMHAC says many businesses shy away from supporting mental health-related events and initiatives, and hopes more businesses will be inspired by OSBA to work with mental health groups on future events.
“It’s great that Old Strathcona’s business community has jumped on board with Pancakes and Promises and are both talking about and supporting mental health. We are a close knit community and events like this really illustrate that,” said Sydney McNeill, Marketing Manager for OSBA.
City of Edmonton Councillor Scott McKeen and MLA David Shepherd joined EMHAC to lend their support of the event. Both mental health supporters and advocates, they spoke at the event encouraging the Edmonton community to continue to support mental health conversations and events, as we are seeing a shift in support from both levels of government because of organizations like EMHAC advocating for more support of mental health programs.
McKeen and Shepherd also joined EMHAC to help announce the news on the next #YEGSemicolon fundraising event. Noted for providing nearly 1,600 semicolon tattoos and raising $66,000 for local mental health programs, the 2017 #YEGSemicolon event is expanding to become more than a tattoo fundraiser.
EMHAC is growing the #YEGSemicolon event to become an annual mental health festival, which will include the tattoo element, as well as many other all-ages activities.
2017 #YEGSemicolon Mental Health Festival and Fundraiser
Sunday, October 1, 2017
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Alberta Aviation Museum
11410 Kingsway NW, Edmonton
“This event is truly special to thousands of people in the Edmonton area, and we’re thrilled that we’ll be able to expand the event for 2017 into a full mental health festival,” said Enberg. “We decided to host this very special event at the beginning of Mental Illness Awareness Week in October because it’s a time where many people affected by mental illness can come together for a positive, hopeful and healing experience and to really help connect those people suffering from mental illness with the people and programs that can help them.”
EMHAC invited local community groups supporting mental health programs to apply for funding as part of the funds raised through the #YEGSemicolon event. The 2017 event will support three organizations this year with Edmonton Men’s Health Collective, Equinox Therapeutic and Consulting Services, and Clean Scene selected as recipients.
EMHAC will be announcing more information on the event including performers, speakers and special guests. People can visit www.yegsemicolon.com to learn more about the event and to purchase their tattoo tickets.
ABOUT EDMONTON MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS COMMITTEE (EMHAC)
The Edmonton Mental Health Awareness Committee (EMHAC) is a not-for-profit Society created by a group of people passionate about bringing awareness to mental health issues in our own community. We were inspired by Project Semicolon, a project that began in the United States, and has now gained momentum worldwide. We produce the annual #YEGsemicolon event, which has raised more than $66,000 for local mental health programs. Learn more at: www.emhac.ca
Natalie Harper, Media Relations
EMHAC Volunteer Committee Member