On October 7, Laurier Brantford will be taking part in a worldwide campaign called Light Up Purple to spread awareness of mental health issues.
On this day, students are encouraged to wear purple to show their support, and to visit the booth being run by the #CAREtalks group. The booth will be in the Davis Fuels Walkway from 9 a.m.to 4 p.m.
Light Up Purple is a campaign run by Carol Todd to recognize mental health issues in individuals and bring awareness to them. Eight months after her daughter, Amanda Todd, took her own life, Carol travelled to Ontario and had the idea to light Niagara Falls purple. Light Up Purple began there, and this year marks its third anniversary.
The #CAREtalks group is run by Dr. Danielle Law. In lead up to Light Up Purple day, #CAREtalks have been putting up positive sticky notes on campus to brighten up the days of Laurier’s staff and students.
“We have a very active team this year, supporting our Light Up Purple campaign.” Dr. Law said. She is optimistic that Light Up Purple will go very well and will successfully bring awareness of mental health issues.
“Mental health in universities and colleges is huge right now,” Carol Todd said. “You’re put into a big learning environment. You have to do what you need to do on your own. There’s no teacher following you, no Mom and Dad making sure that you’re studying … and those are huge stresses.”
Light Up Purple is about individuals supporting each other, and starting discussions of mental health awareness. Mental health issues affect everyone, whether directly or indirectly. Everyone knows someone who has been affected by a mental health issue.
Normally, Light Up Purple is on October 10, the same day as World Mental Health Day. However, World Mental Health Day falls on a Saturday this year. Dr. Law changed the date to gain more student participation. She hopes that this way, students can learn more about what is going on.
Mental Health Awareness Day is also the same day that Amanda Todd passed away. Although Light Up Purple was not created for Amanda Todd, it allows Carol Todd to do something positive on the otherwise sad day, and use her energy to help others. Since mental illnesses don’t go away in one day, Carol Todd hopes that Light Up Purple, and what it stands for, will be remembered every day of the year.
When Light Up Purple started, it had a small group of volunteers. This year, the organization will have more than 25 landmarks and over 30 other buildings lighting up purple across Canada, the United States, and Australia.
“Everyone has a story and wants to help in some way.” said Carol Todd. “Everything starts from a little bubble and this bubble is just getting bigger.”
Light Up Purple is reaching sport teams, fine arts and police forces. They have 50 per cent of the Canadian Football League talking about mental health and becoming aware of it on social media.