Walk aims to raise awareness, money for mental health

  • May. 1, 2012 2:00 p.m.

A walk this weekend will raise money in memory of a young Port Clements man who died last year after struggling with mental health issues.Sunday’s ‘Walk for Sven’ will honour Steven Mehl, who was only 25 when he died. Organizer Gina Schnubb said the money raised at the walk will join the $6,500 that has already been raised in Steven’s name.Ms Schnubb, whose children were friends with Steven (Sven was his nickname), said a committee is coming together and is planning to set aside a portion of the money for bursaries.”$1,000 will go to each high school in Steven’s name, so anyone going into the mental health field can apply for this bursary,” she said. “We’re hoping to do that yearly to keep that going, and to keep his name going.”Money will also go to local mental health groups, “mostly for awareness,” said Ms Schnubb, “to get rid of the stigma. We’re hoping to look for somebody who could come into the community who can go into the schools talk to the children, especially the grade 7 to 12.”Ms Schnubb said everyone is welcome to join the walkers.”We’re hoping to see a good turnout,” she said. “Plus, it brings the communities together and allows us to work on something together, because mental health really isn’t spoken about here.”The walk will be more than 20 km long. Cindy Storry, Steven’s mother, said the distance will be a challenge – a challenge that may bring insight and empathy to the road travelled by those with mental illness.”While this walk will be a tough struggle to most of us, keep in mind or try to imagine the struggle someone with bi-polar or depression or any of the other mental health illnesses endures,” Ms Storry said. “It is a long road. I know that I will feel Steve walking beside me… I will feel his presence and his absence. I hope that with each step we will be making a difference for someone like Steven.”The walk will start at 10 am on May 6, at two locations: Gas Plus in Port Clements and at the visitor info centre in Masset, although walkers may start earlier if they choose. It will end at Pure Lake, where the Delmas Co-op board of directors will be barbecuing lunch for finishers, who can then be driven back to their communities by volunteers. Money is being raised through pledges and donations.