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Mental illness – it’s time to start talking

Russ and Bruce Courtnall at last year's CFAX radiothon to raise funds for mental health. Photo from the Courtnall Classic website.

I’m so proud of our youngest son Ryder. He was interviewed by A Channel News for a story about mental illness. He candidly and articulately described his experience when he was hospitalized earlier this year under the Mental Health Act.  That took a lot of courage, I’m sure, so good for him because as a society we need to talk more openly about this health issue that is estimated to affect one in five Canadians.

It seems we’re doing so all of a sudden, especially in Victoria this week where the media is featuring stories connected to this weekend’s Courtnall Celebrity Classic golf tournament, gala dinner and other events to raise funds for and awareness about mental illness.

The CFAX 1070 Courtnall Celebrity Classic Radiothon ran from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm today and when the clock stopped $82,722 had been raised. The money goes to the Victoria Hospitals Foundation, which has a goal of raising $4 million for mental health care equipment at the new Royal Jubilee Patient Care Centre.

Both of our sons (I now have their permission to identify them when recounting our family’s experience with mental illness) were admitted to the Archie Courtnall psychiatric emergency ward when they were first hospitalized at the Royal Jubilee Hospital. I am grateful to the Courtnall brothers (Geoff, Russ and Bruce) for their generosity in building the centre and for lending the considerable force of their names and their networks to continue to raise funds for and awareness about mental health issues.

I’m pleased Ryder and I could play a small role in this awareness effort. In addition to today’s story on A News, I was interviewed as part of the CFAX radiothon. Ryder and I are also scheduled to be interviewed on CBC Radio in Victoria Monday, July 25 at 7:20 am.

It’s the beginning of a long conversation we need to have as a society.



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  1. Cathy Knights says:

    So proud of you all for this! Nothing to be ashamed of and so much to be gained by sharing. That Ryder is a young man of courage and style!!

    1. Stephanie Slater says:

      He sure is! I hope other young people and their families might be helped by our story and seek help if they need it. I was also pleased to have the opportunity to personally thank the Courtnall brothers yesterday at the radiothon. I told them how their work had had an impact on our family. Now with those three men, there’s courage and style – in spades!

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