Leasiders hit streets and park trails to support youth mental health at SPRING INTO ACTION! WALK or RUN!

On Saturday, May 25th, 2019, Leaside’s own InsideOut Health & Wellness Studio will partner with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) to host the 14th annual Spring Into Action! Walk or Run for Youth Mental Health. With one in five Canadians facing a mental illness or addiction problem in any given year and 70 percent of those problems beginning during childhood or adolescence (source: camh.ca), this year’s Spring Into Action! aims to raise awareness on the importance of youth mental health and to help fund programs at CAMH.

This fun, family-friendly event is open to everyone — from kids to seniors — and starts at InsideOut Studio (210 Laird Dr.) with “sunrise” yoga and a marketplace at 9am. After warm-ups, participants head out for their 2K or 5K walk/run along Sutherland Drive to a guided route through Sunnybrook Park, and finish up at InsideOut with a gratitude garden, authors, artists, guest speakers, cupcakes, gelato, kids’ activities (including face painting and giant Jenga!), music, a 50/50 and prize draws.

With the help of the Leaside community, including sponsorships from local businesses, Spring Into Action! was founded by Barry Samuel, as a way of building a community of support for those struggling with mental health challenges and, at the same time, promoting physical activity as way to manage anxiety. And Samuel’s passion for giving back stems from his own experience.

“As a young person, adopting a routine of physical activity became a refuge for me in dealing with intermittent personal struggles,” says Samuel. “Candidly, it saved my life.”

CAMH Clinical Psychologist Dr. Niki Fitzgerald agrees with Samuel’s approach. “For children and youth, participating in events like Spring Into Action! is associated with decreased risk of future depression. It can improve self-esteem and confidence, reduce feelings of anxiety, and improve overall mood.”

As someone who lives and works in Leaside, Samuel says he’s grateful to be part of a compassionate community that supports causes like his.

“With mental health issues, you can tend to feel very isolated and alone. This event is an opportunity for neighbours to show their support and start a dialogue in a tolerant, safe environment.”

Tickets are $25 and are available at:https://www.events.runningroom.com/site/16189/spring-into-action-2019-annual-walk-or-run-for-mental-health/

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