A couple of months ago, I was asked to contribute some jewelry to an annual charity event put on by some musician friends called Rocking Awareness. It was started a few years ago in honour of the life of a young, talented woman named "M". She was the drummer in the band that started the event. M was struggling with some mental health issues, and eventually, she succumbed to her struggle. Her band mates were devastated and they decided to do something to raise money and awareness for mental health initiatives in their local community.
This year on October 6th, the third annual Rocking Awareness event was held. Several local businesses and corporate sponsors stepped up to the plate with door prizes, items for the silent auction, and cash donations. Five local bands donated their time and energy for the show. The organizers' goal was to raise $4000 for the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health and #sicknotweak. This goal was well surpassed!!
In honour of this event, I made and donated two sterling silver guitar pick pendants to the silent auction and they raised $180!! I also decided to make some more pendants to offer for sale on my website, with 20% of the sale price of each to be donated back to the two charities. You can check them out here.
These days, there is much focus on physical health - eating well, supplements, specialized diets and exercise programs, and the list goes on. And although it is becoming more acceptable to talk about mental health, it still gets pushed by the wayside, and even worse, stigmatized. There is a long way to go before talking about anxiety and depression is as common place and acceptable as mentioning that you have the flu, or a bad back, or chronic migraines. So many people still feel that they can't talk about their problems or ask for help when their issues are related to mental health. This is why initiatives like #sicknotweak and the work of the Royal are so important. People need to know there is help available and they can ask for it - and more importantly, that it is okay to ask for it. Because the alternative to not getting help can be heartbreaking.
I hope to participate in the 4th annual Rocking Awareness event next year. In the meantime, I want to be able to contribute something to these causes throughout the year. So if you are a musician, or you know one, or you just enjoy rock'n roll, consider picking up a guitar pick pendant for yourself, or as a gift. Not only will you look super cool sporting some rock'n roll bling, you can feel good about your purchase knowing that you are also supporting a great cause.
To learn more about the mental health initiatives I am supporting, check out the The Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health and #SickNotWeak websites.