A 65-year-old Chetwynd man will be walking from Bella Coola to Winnipeg to raise awareness about mental health.
Along Stanley Fraser’s journey that begins May 29th, he plans to bring his message to the communities of 100 Mile House and Williams Lake later next month.
Fraser said his 26-hundred-kilometer walk is all about reducing the stigma of mental health, depression, and anxiety, and that these things need to be handled differently.
“I’m a firm believer that trauma is a gateway to a lot of the problems that we’re facing today with the epidemic of drugs, alcohol, suicides. I think we need to handle it and we need to talk about it openly and not be so judgmental of people.”
Fraser added the walk reflects how addressing the stigma of mental health can only be done “one step at a time”.
“All we can do is get from one place to another place in life is one step at a time. A lot of times people that suffer from anxiety and depression just getting out of bed, putting one foot in front of the other is very difficult and very challenging and we need to understand that.”
Fraser said when it comes to men talking about mental health they don’t fare too well.
“This is why I’m doing this walk as a man trying to get more men to talk about it. I was there, I know how it is to try to be a superman but a lot of times even superman needs help when it comes to mental health. We have to learn how to talk about it openly and we need to learn how to express our thoughts and our feelings about it. I know it isn’t easy, it took me many, many years to get to the point where I am today. I do know of the shame and the difficulties and the judgment and the labeling that all goes along with it, something we men need to stop doing.”
Fraser said he hopes to arrive in Winnipeg in the middle of August.