On February 2 members of St. Mary’s University’s Lightning athletics teams participated in a march around campus as part of the Make Some Noise for Mental Health initiative launched in the Alberta Colleges Athletics Conference.
The campaign, created and implemented in 2015 by the SAIT Trojans Outreach Program has grown into a conference-wide campaign aimed at breaking stigmas around mental health and is intended to encourage empathy, understanding and open mindedness while promoting resources and support available on campus and in the community.
“I think that overall the Make Some Noise for Mental Health is a fantastic initiative by the ACAC and I’m glad that we can do our part,” said Nathan Ruff, head coach for the Lightning Men’s basketball team. “I think that partnering up for something like this makes all the difference. Mental health is a serious area of life that I feel is overlooked way too often.”
On Saturday, February 4th the Lighting welcomed a special guest as part of St. Mary’s Make Some Noise initiative. Kaj Korvela, the Executive Director of the Organization for Bipolar Affective Disorders, an organization focused on providing peer support for people who have lived experience of mood disorders, spoke to those in attendance about the significance in efforts to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health.
“Being able to raise awareness is important. If doing all of this only reaches one or two students in our community I think it is still a success,” said Ruff. “Sometimes all it takes is having someone realize that they are not alone and by our athletes participating in the walk and then by having a speaker at our games hopefully we can show anyone affected that they are not alone.”