We've been so inspired by the connections we've made so far in our business, most if not all of them came with a comfortability around mental health and a passion to also keep the conversation going. However, we also heard from people how it can be difficult to find your community. Difficult to put yourself out there, especially when you're living with mental illness.
We went to a fantastic mental health talk called Once Upon A Stigma, put on by Reid Schretlen as part of Stigma Stroll with proceeds going to Third Space Life Charity. The environment and atmosphere Reid and the event were able to create was one we rarely got to experience - compassion, honesty, vulnerability. The audience kind of took things on a tangent, but it was incredible to hear all of the experiences and tips and resources that came out of the whole room. The idea was embedded.
An open mic night - centered around mental health and illness. People can come to share their stories, a song, a poem, a dance, a rant ... Whatever is on their heart. In a space where they're supported, understood, heard, and cared for. A community.
We were lucky enough to connect with Rachel Udy, the Community Manager at Spaces Innovation - a new coworking space in the Kelowna Innovation Center - and creator of the Practical Realist Podcast - our interview with her airs Dec 20th!!! She's passionate about bringing a voice to all and creating a thriving community at work and around the city. It was a perfect match.
Michael floated the idea of Safe Spaces and we set a date.
November 27th @ 5PM doors opened
At 5:30 we kicked off the night with Paige Mathison, psychiatric nurse, comedian, future counselor, and all-around great human.
We had people from all walks of life share their stories, their bravery, their strength...
We filled people's bellies with homemade sugar cookies, refreshments and made sure to send them home with local mental health resources.
It was a beautiful night. Of sharing. Of supporting. Of just being. And accepting that we're all going through so much more than we ever share. We're so honoured people felt the desire to come and to share. We're inspired by so many people who are making a difference - simply by showing up. We kept hearing how people couldn't wait to come to the next one ...
So I guess we'll see you there ;) Stay tuned for the next open mic!