The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is inviting the community to help build resilience and share some laughter in the face of stressors associated with extreme weather and natural disasters.

The Cariboo-Chilcotin Branch in association with the Canadian Red Cross and United Way is hosting a free mental health event entitled ‘Resiliency Through Laughter and Magic.’

“We feel at least in our talks that a lot of emphasis is put on mental health and the various coping strategies that people work through to get through these things, and we just felt that laughter was something that was overlooked a lot of the time in these kinds of community events,” said support counselor Ashley Coleman.

Featuring comedian magician Clinton W. Gray, the event will focus on normalizing the experience of stress and anxiety due to wildfires, smoky skies, and flooding and on helping local citizens connect and talk about their experiences coping with the mental health impacts of actual or anticipated events.

It will take place on Aug. 20 at Signal Point’s events room in Williams Lake from 1:30 to 3:30 pm and be divided into two sessions-one for first responders and the other for community members.

“I think the idea for a lot of these events was to focus more on the first responders just because we feel like the mental health of our first responders gets overlooked often,” Coleman said.

“But we also wanted to bring together the community aspect as well.”