By Safia Hashi
This year’s public relations fundraising campaign, Headstrong, will hold a silent auction and art show titled Art of Change in support of Partners for Mental Health. The event is geared towards restructuring the mental health conversation to reduce stigma and accelerate social awareness of treatment and support programs.
At the Westin Hotel on April 7 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., guests will be introduced to local art therapists and enjoy a unique experience consulting with local artists in the city.
“To date, the Headstrong program has collected over $300,000,” said James Birchall. He is a PR student overseeing the success of the event along with three of his classmates.
The campaign has re-launched due to initial success of a campaign in May 2013. Titled, Not Myself Today, the nationwide campaign targeted mental health stigmas in the workplace.
“Over 500,000 Canadians call in sick daily with mental health related illnesses,” said Birchall, speaking during a press conference at the college.
Kristine Matthews is also working on the Art of Change event. Her focus is primarily on marketing the therapeutic benefits of the campaign.
“Art therapy is accessible to anyone,” said Matthews. “Canada has over 200 art therapists practicing across the country.”
Through the press conference held on March 20, the students hoped to deliver three clear messages.
The first is the importance of art therapy as a coping method for mental health patients. Secondly, they hope for the auction to benefit local artists in Ottawa by showcasing their talents. Lastly, students in the PR program hope wish to generate discussion about the influences and achievements of Partners for Mental Health.
“We hope we answered any questions for those interested at the press conference,” said Lauren Fine.
“I think it’s a great chance to support a good cause.”