Kelowna walk raises awareness for youth mental health

Kelowna walk raises awareness for youth mental health

The annual Walk So Kids Can Talk is scheduled for May 6

Knowing you’re not alone, that there’s someone to talk to, is the aim of the annual Walk So Kids Can Talk.

Presented by Kids Help Phone, the walk aims to fundraise and bring awareness to the non-profit and to youth mental health.

Free food, live entertainment and face painting will be on site at the event scheduled for May 6, at Waterfront Park. Registration opens at 10 a.m. with the walk at 11.

“It’s a really super fun day, just getting the community involved,” said Jennifer Oswald, chair of the Kelowna event.

“I really want to bring more awareness to Kids Help Phone in the Kelowna community, just so kids know they have some place to call if they feel uncomfortable talking to their parents, or friends at school.”

The number 1-800-668-6868 is free and anonymous. In 2016, post-secondary students reached out to the Kid’s Help Phone 19,780 times using the Good2Talk mental health helpline in its Ontario location.

The three most commonly discussed issues were mental and emotional health, peer and family relationships and suicide and suicide-related issues, according to the Kids Help Phone website.

Last year, 175 walkers registered for the Kelowna location. Walks take place on a national scale each year, and locations in B.C. include Vernon, Nanaimo, Surrey, Vancouver and Victoria.

Oswald lived in Kelowna for 17 years, spending her high school years in the community.

“Mental health was a huge part of my younger life and I maybe wished someone could have brought Kids Help Phone to me as an option,” she said. “I think that regardless of where you go, there’s always going to be kids that have struggles and need to talk to somebody about it, I think it’s a really amazing thing that Kids Help Phone does.”

Donate online through the Walk So Kids Can Talk website.

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Kelowna Capital News