Canadian Mental Health Association, (CMHA) – Vernon & District Branch received $33,922 for its youth programs and Crisis Line from a local fund raising event.

Bollywood Bang, which took place April 27 at Predator Ridge Resort, featured a five-minute fundraiser where guests donated $25,922 to support local mental health. Also during the event, CMHA Vernon staff and volunteers held a balloon pop, raising $8,000 from the sale of prize-filled balloons.

“We are thankful to GNS Society, guests and supporters for helping to raise awareness and support programs that bring direct help to those living with mental health challenges in Vernon and area,” said Julia Payson, Executive Director, CMHA Vernon & District Branch.

Donations will partially fund CMHA youth programs and the crisis line which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, receiving more than 5,500 calls per year.

“Community support for these programs is vitally important to continue operating. The Crisis Line is partly funded by Interior Health, but also relies on the generosity of our community for us to continue providing the service,” said Payson.

CMHA recently launched a chat and text component to the 24/7 crisis line to reach underrepresented populations of youth and middle-aged males. Recently, the Canadian Suicide Prevention Service found that the demographic most often reached by the text and chat services were middle-aged men.

“Although we hope to engage younger people and men, our crisis text and chat service is open to people of all ages,” said Payson.

Youth programs benefitting from the fundraising event include Super Saturdays – an early intervention and prevention-based program for children aged 7-12 years old who have a parent living with a mental illness, and Friday Night Live, which offers youth aged 13-17 a peer support-based program to manage their mental wellness. These programs are funded primarily through donations from community members.

Many businesses contributed to the event through sponsorships and donations, including The Longhorn Pub generously donating $2,000.

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