The Third annual “Out of the Blue” campaign was recently launched at the Green Valley School in Grunthal on February 15. “Out of the Blue” is a regional public awareness and education program that aims to inspire and inform students and youth, residents, businesses and agencies. This year’s launch involved students from Grades 8-12, residents, businesses and service providers throughout the eastern area of Southern Health-Santé Sud.
With funding from Manitoba Health, Out of the Blue was initially developed by the South Eastman Suicide Prevention Committee which includes representation from youth, people affected by/concerned about suicide, community agencies, public health and mental health organizations, and faith-based organization. Building on last’s year’s success, this year’s campaign is targeting high school students, businesses, individuals and various community groups in making positive mental health a priority, creating a “new voice” for mental health and mental illness in our region. This voice echoes in initiatives such as mental health awareness/suicide prevention and stigma reduction presentations. Although suicide intervention and prevention remain the primary focus, there has been a shift to include discussion around mental health and mental illness and what it means to the youth. As part of the campaign, presentations will be delivered in five different schools/school divisions (English, French Immersion, French) – all in different communities within the RMs of Ritchot, Franklin, Taché and Hanover.
The second component of Out of the Blue campaign is the “blue activities” where schools, organizations and community groups are invited to get involved. The challenge is to create and implement a “blue activity” to help raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention. “Blue Awareness Activities” promote accurate mental health information and encourage help-seeking behaviour. This is done by open, direct and honest talk about suicide and by spreading hope for recovery. To register for “blue awareness activities” visit OutoftheBlue4u.ca with a chance to win one of four $500 cash prizes which will be awarded at the Blue Carpet Gala featuring Big Daddy Tazz on May 8, 2013 at the Freidensfeld Hall in Freidensfeld, Manitoba.