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Trek tackles mental health

Vernon Morning Star - 5/6/2017

A Vernon resident is preparing for a journey of self-discovery to raise awareness and funds for workplace mental health.

On May 12, Kayla Read will embark on a five-month trek along the Pacific Crest Trail, which spans 4,265 kilometres from Mexico to Canada.

“By openly sharing my soul-enriching experiences along the hike, I hope that others will be inspired to connect and find their personal way of constructively coping with their daily struggles too,” said Read.

Read’s goal is to raise $5 per kilometre, totaling $21,325. All funds raised will stay in Vernon to improve education and services surrounding workplace mental health.

“Studies show that 30 per cent of disability claims are due to mental health issues with the average company losing 12 per cent of its payroll to employee disability,” said Cassandra Schwarz, community engagement officer with the Canadisn Mental Health Association.

“By recognizing the importance of mental health in the workplace, we can create a win-win situation for employees and employers. CMHA Vernon offers a variety of educational opportunities for the workplace.”

For more information on Read’s journey, go to www.vernon.cmha.bc.ca or follow her PCT trek on Facebook at #walkabout.

“This fundraiser has evolved into my passion project. I truly believe there is a direct correlation between eco-therapy and mental health and wellness,” said Read.

“Many people struggle with mental health issues and commonly grasp for inappropriate and even damaging coping tools, eco-therapy on the other hand, can help this same group and even improve their quality of life. As I have worked in camp for many years isolated from my family, friends, and hobbies, I have seen the positive impact eco-therapy has had on my workplace mental health.”

 
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