On Friday, June 9 we joined John Cameron Entertainment as they launched what John Cameron hailed as “the city’s first concert in support of mental health,” benefiting the Mental Health Foundation and our partners at the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation.
The evening celebrated the resilience of our community. The John Cameron Orchestra performed thrilling large-scale versions of piano favorites, while the crowd sang and danced along. In between numbers, spotlighted members of the choir and orchestra shared their personal stories of mental illness.
It was a powerful testimonial to the way mental illness touches all of our lives (all the more powerful knowing that approximately one third of the ensemble volunteered to step forward and share), and a promising start to an initiative that will change lives. As John Cameron told the crowd: “If you need help you are going to get it.”
We were pleased to hear from many that the evening of music brought home the realities of mental illness. For those who themselves struggle with maintaining mental health, it sent a message that they aren’t alone. For those whose lives mental illness touches only indirectly, it sent a message that could not be ignored. “We won’t and can’t be silent,” said Mark Korthuis, Executive Director of the Foundation, “Not tonight, not ever.”
There has been a 56% rise in Emergency Department visits by and a 47% rise in hospitalizations for children and youth with mental disorders since 2007. Early interventions and prevention of mental health issues are essential for combating these numbers and ensuring that youth find the right place to get help prior to crisis.
Funds raised this year at Crescendo will go to benefit ACCESS Open Minds, supporting easier navigation and rapid access to appropriate care for youth aged 11-25.
Crescendo is a five year initiative and, true to its name, it can only go up from here. If you made it out this year, our sincere thanks for coming; if you didn’t, we hope to see you next year!