Originating in Canada, Break the Silence is a campaign focussing on reducing the stigma around mental health and raising awareness. In previous years, the campaign has been focused on face-to-face events and mass participation fundraisers, but given the global pandemic and the restrictions it has forced us to adopt, this year the event is going virtual, attracting participation from across the globe!
The event started six years ago after a close friend of organiser Jag Atwal died by suicide. In an effort to honour his legacy and make a positive change in society, Jag wanted to create an event focused on reducing the stigma associated with mental health and connecting people to resources. Jag said “We now have registrations from all over the world with an extremely large number of them from Leeds. During the week of June 20-27, we are also providing free education sessions on various mental health topics. These sessions will be provided through Zoom and can be accessed from anywhere in the world as much of the information is not specific to Canada.”
Jag’s nephew Cameron, a Leeds resident, has taken up the challenge, attempting to run seven half marathons in just seven days, supporting both Leeds Mind and the UK Black Lives Matter campaign. The recent pandemic has given fundraiser Cameron time to think and reflect about what is important in his life. Cameron is a huge advocate for mental health and the importance of everyone being equal and being kind.