Story by: Kayla Kreutzberg
Photo by: Here4Hope
For the past 2 years, the Here4Hope campaign put on by Wellington County and the Canadian Mental Health Association of Waterloo-Wellington (CMHAWW) has been a live, in-person event, but this year they’ve had to get creative.
The campaign highlights the importance of meaningful connections to each other and encourages members of the community to reach out to one another with compassionate messages that foster hope.
Cecilia-Marie Roberts, Suicide Prevention Project Lead for the Canadian Mental Health Association of Waterloo-Wellington tells us the goal of the campaign.
“To have the entire community talking about the importance of connecting, we hope to send 10,000 messages of hope in the 10 days that the campaign is running,” Roberts said.
Roberts says during these difficult times, it’s appropriate to focus on connection and a sense of belonging.
“When we belong, when we feel connected to others it now makes us feel welcomed and accepted, and safe enough to kind of be ourselves, and to show up and contribute. […] When everyone in a community experiences this sense of belonging there’s kind of this natural shift towards an attitude of taking care of one another,” she said.
Roberts says connected and caring communities keep people well.
“Research shows us that if you feel like you belong, and your valued, and accepted, you’re less likely to suffer from poor health, and I mean poor physical health, but also poor mental health. […] Connections to others and the strengths of those relationships are really considered a protective factor against suicide,” she said.
Roberts says the Here4Hope committee is asking residents to mail one of their thoughtful post cards to someone they care about.
Today is the last day to get a traditional postcard, which can be found at all Wellington County libraries.
If you can’t get your hands on a traditional post card, residents can send a virtual post card by going to www.messages4hope.ca.
The Here4Hope project focuses on life promotion and suicide prevention in Wellington County, and the Messages4Hope campaign concludes on October 28.