Local musician Ryan Langlois is raising awareness and funds for the Canadian Mental Health Association Central Alberta.
He will be walking each day for one hour with whoever wants to walk and talk with him as part of the Let’s Walk campaign.
The idea ignited from Langlois’ involvement with the Project Wild Artist Development program.
“Part of the challenge is that they want you to implement and bring to life a fundraising campaign for something that is close to your heart,” he said.
Langlois was diagnosed a few years ago with what his doctors called, moderate to severe anxiety and depression.
“I lived with it for a long time and finally it came to a head and I went in and got some help. I have learned so much about what that looks like and how it affects so many people and because it’s a personal thing that has spawned this desire to let people know that they’re not alone.”
Langlois added that he’s on medication, which has made a huge difference – and he’s learned to rest and be okay with resting.
He had originally wanted to do one eight-hour walk with a weighted pack, which represented the eight hours of an average work day, with the weighted pack representing that extra baggage that people living with mental illness carry with them.
“You can’t just not go to work like in my case. I have a family to provide for and all that comes with it, so you just have to bear that weight and continue to go through your day.”
His wife then suggested he do an hour a day for 30 days, that way he could broaden his reach over more time and invite guest walkers affected by mental illness.
“I’ve walked with some songwriter friends, some artist friends, some industry friends and some people in the community that are doing amazing work.
“If there’s nobody walking with me, I just pack up and head out my front door and walk for an hour.”
Langlois will be walking every day until Oct. 4th.
“For those struggling with their mental health, it is often hard to take the first step and reach out for help, much less believe that things can get better,” said CMHA Executive Director, Christine Stewart in a release. “We are grateful for Ryan’s willingness to share his journey through his mental health struggles and his road to healing. Through stories such as Ryan’s, it inspires others to take that difficult first step and have hope.”
Those wanting or needing to talk can reach out to Langlois through his social media at https://www.facebook.com/RyanDanielLanglois, https://www.instagram.com/ryan_daniel_langlois or https://twitter.com/ryan_d_langlois.
People can also donate money, which will go towards the CMHA. For more information contact Stewart at 403 342 2266.