Mental health takes centre stage for Kelowna charity

Bell Let’s Talk Day urges people to talk about it to end stigma

Third Space Life Charity hosted an open house at its cafe today to show residents the counselling services and resources available to people struggling with their mental health who may not be able to afford it.

The open house coincided with Bell Let’s Talk Day, an initiative that has the company donating five cents to charities for every text or call by its customers. The day also encourages people to talk about mental health, available resources, and messages of support.

Third Space Life Charity executive director Jody Pihl said having a dedicated day to raise awareness about mental health is important, but it’s important to talk about mental health every day.

“I think we’ve learned in Canada and elsewhere, that one of the best ways of ending the stigma of mental illness … is talking about it, whether it’s talking to their loved one about it, a friend or their physician,” said Pihl.

“Breaking down that stigma and those barriers to talking about it is breaking down stigma for people seeking help to get better.”

READ MORE: Law firm donates $30,000 towards mental health initiatives at Okanagan College

The charity’s consultant Lonni van Diest said creating safe spaces and communities consciously is another important aspect.

“The best way we’re going to beat the stigma of this is by talking and sharing about how you’re feeling, making connections with your community, your family, your friends, at your workplace,” he said.

“If you know someone who is struggling and who is needing help, reach out to that person. Even reaching out to strangers you see anywhere (is important).”

Third Space Life Charity offers counselling services and resources to people who otherwise may not be able to afford it. The charity’s funding comes from its cafe’s profits as well as donations.

The charity has also partnered with Evolve Design for the “Before I Die” project. The interior design firm’s owner Jules Galloway said the first wall will be installed inside the cafe. She added they are still in talks to secure places for three other installations.

“Before I Die” asks people to fill out the rest of the sentence with what they want to do with their life before it ends.

Galloway said they wanted to launch it to show the community we all have dreams and struggles, and that no one is alone.

READ MORE: “Before I Die” project launches in Kelowna

READ MORE: UBC president Santa Ono coming to Kelowna to talk about mental health

Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
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