It's mental health story time with Once Upon a Stigma in Kelowna - InfoNews

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It's mental health story time with Once Upon a Stigma in Kelowna

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May 28, 2019 - 11:07 AM

KELOWNA - The Okanagan Young Professionals Collective will host Once Upon a Stigma in Kelowna this week, an event designed to raise awareness about mental health stigmas and allow locals to share their mental health stories.

The event on Thursday, May 30, will feature stories from several local mental health advocates and will take place at Third Space Coffee on Dolphin Avenue.

Reid Schretlen will give a presentation on his experiences with depression.

Schretlen is the founder of Stigma Stroll, an Okanagan-wide walk to raise awareness on mental health stigma. The strolls take place in Penticton and Summerland June 6, Peachland and West Kelowna June 7, Kelowna June 8, followed by Lake Country and Vernon June 9.


Merry Christmas. I spent Christmas 2017 staring out the window wishing I could disappear. I was struggling with depression and felt like I ruining Christmas for my family. . 2018 was a year of recovery, learning how to ask for help, and taking a chance on vulnerability. . And this year, I’m staring out the window, thinking about you. . I hope you’re able to love yourself, no matter what state you’re in or how you feel. You don’t need to be artificially happy just because we lable today as a holiday. . I’m (slowly) learning how to judge myself and little less, accept that I am human, and let go of the false male narrative that asking for help is a sign of weakness. . If you’re struggling, please know that behind all the lights, chocolate, and cheer, we all struggle in one way or another. Don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t bubbling over with joy today. We’ll get through this, together ???????? . If you’d like to hear more about my recovery from depression and how I’m working on ending the stigma around mental health please check out this video: Or this post: Or this interview: #mentalhealth #christmas

A post shared by Reid Schretlen (@reidschretlen) on

Managing Partner of Urban Rec Okanagan Jamie Taverner will share her perspective on mental health. 

The Director of Third Space Life Charity, Allie Grey, will also share her insights.


Ask anyone to describe their first counselling session and they can usually tell the story in vivid detail - sweaty palms, lump in throat, heart racing...for so many, just getting to the point where you feel like you can ask for help is the biggest hurdle...but what if you can’t afford it? That’s where we come in. We exist to remove boundaries so no parent has to choose between groceries for their family or their mental health. We provide free or more accessible counselling, based on income, thanks to donors like you. . . When you donate to Third Space, 100% of your donation goes toward the cost of clinical counselling for those who otherwise can’t access it. Become a monthly partner today and be a part of the breaking the stigma with us. . #BeHope #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth #ThirdSpaceCulture #EndTheStigma #MakeMentalHealthNormal

A post shared by Third Space Life Charity (@thirdspacecharity) on

This event is important for both those in recovery and those who have recovered. Tory Braun, Community Cultivator with the collective explains that Once Upon a Stigma provides a safe space to come and be a part of an understanding community, while also providing a sense of community for others in turn.

"What is also unique about this event is that we want to engage those who may not be struggling with mental health but who want to help and support mental wellness," explains Braun. "The statistic is 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental health challenge or illness this year, so what happens to the other four? We will be discussing how they can support their friends, family and colleagues who may be that 1 in 5.”

Reid Schretlen, founder of the Stigma Stroll made a video to raise awareness on this issue (see below).

The Young Professionals Collective is diving into heavier topics this year in light of feedback from audience and local organizations. However, the vision for Once Upon a Stigma is very simple.

"It’s a chance for people to grab a coffee, listen to stories and meet new people who are also advocates and supporters of mental health initiatives” says Braun.

The event is free and open to all ages, and all individuals with or without mental illness. To reserve a spot follow the link on the Facebook event page for Once Upon a Stigma.

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