Queen’s University students used the power of music and art to help tear down any stigma surrounding mental health with a unique event at the Napanee Lions Hall on Friday.
Titled Get Connected 2018, the event welcomed musicians and artists to showcase their talents while Morningstar Mission provided a free warm meal. Amid the entertainment were representatives from various mental health organizations from the community.
“There are so many resources for mental health, addictions and also social support and a variety of other resources,” said Shannon Taylor, a Queen’s University occupational therapy student who helped organize the event.
“People in the community and sometimes even health-care professionals don’t know exactly what else is out there. We’re really hoping to help integrate and connect the community to what’s available to them for help. The other (goal of the event) is also just decreasing stigma and getting the conversation started.”
Along with informing the public, they were also open to feedback as well. A station was set up inside the hall where people could write suggestions for improvements to services they’d like to see in the region. Prior to putting the gathering together, the students sought out plenty of input from the community.
“This is all a reflection of what people’s input was,” said Chelsea Dyck, a Queen’s University occupational therapy student who also helped put the evening together. “It was quickly revealed that there was a lot of talents, especially music and art in the community. So that was a nice way to deploy it and also get the conversation going.”
Local musicians took to the stage to showcase their talents while artists displayed their work throughout the hall. Guests were encouraged to add their mark to a communal canvas as well.
Anyone looking to find a specific service is encouraged to contact Addictions Mental Health Services-Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington. In the meantime, the students are hoping future events like Get Connected will continue to spread the word that help is available and people don’t have to go it alone.
“The goal would be for future students, maybe next year, run the 2019 Get Connected but as well any community members that wanted to jump in and take over would be really helpful,” said Taylor. “We’re here to lay the groundwork and get things started, the goal is that somebody be able to pick it up.”