Her book shone a light on local men’s mental health.
And the funds she raised are going to help local youth with the same thing.
|(Michelle Behr – Memorable and Vibrant Okanagan Photography)|
Michelle Behr, a former mental health worker and current proprietor of Memorable and Vibrant Okanagan Photography, cut a cheque for $2,164 to the Kelowna Foundry Wednesday morning (Aug. 21), marking what she hopes is the first of many donations.
The funds were raised from her coffee table book, Men’s Voices, which features several stories and photos of 14 high-profile local men showing resiliency in the face of mental health challenges.
Behr said the initiative showcases local lawyers, musicians and artists who are in the public eye and didn’t mind sharing their stories, with the hopes that it inspires teenagers to persevere through their hardest times.
“Resiliency,” is the main word she uses to describe the series.
The book also sparked a Telus Storyhive documentary entitled Into the Light, which has also been used to raise funds.
Behr said the motivation behind the book was when two men in her life died by suicide and she turned her grief into a way to help.
“About four years ago, suicide levels hit an epidemic in Kelowna and in the arts community and it was particularly affecting men,” she said.
“I have two sons and I have a father with mental health issues, so I was inspired by my counselling background to go out and interview and photograph (these men).”
(Michelle Behr – Memorable and Vibrant Okanagan Photography)
Behr said her next initiative will also raise funds for the Foundry. The next project, entitled the Hope Card Series, is a series of film-based photography on postcards which will see 18 per cent of funds raised go to the Foundry.