Local foundation asks residents to share how they take care of their mental health

Story by Stacie Gaetz


Photos by iStock

A local mental health and addictions foundation is encouraging Airdrie residents to help raise awareness about the cause by posting photos of themselves and their loved ones taking care of their mental health.

“It can be anything from baking, to sewing, to going for a walk, reading, writing, music, whatever you do to improve or maintain your mental health,” said Kim Titus, director of the Thumbs Up Foundation.

To take part in the month of June, simply post a photo of yourself taking care of your mental health in whatever way works for you to social media using one of the campaign’s hashtags (#inittogether #tufonsuicide #mentalhealthawareness #thumbsupfdn #thumbsupforbraden #bridgesnotfences).

“Mental health is an inside out journey,” said Titus.

“Right now, with COVID and the social unrest that is going on, it is more important than ever that we are taking care of our mental health and being mindful of where we are. This campaign is a way of saying ‘don’t forget about self care,’ amid all of the unprecedented things we are dealing with like home schooling, social isolation and money troubles.”

Thumbs Up Foundation was established in 2016 as a result of the sudden passing of Titus’ 31-year-old son Jesse Braden Titus (1984 – 2015). “Brady,” as he was known, was a beloved son, brother, uncle, nephew and friend.

Brady’s family and friends, including his mom, and his dad began looking into mental health care and awareness in Alberta, as well as the larger suicide epidemic in Canada.

Brady struggled with depression briefly before his suicide and was unable to access crucial mental health care in the weeks leading up to his death.

“It is our belief that Brady and thousands more across Canada are falling through the cracks when it comes to receiving quality mental health care in a timely manner,” said Titus.

“When a six-foot, 190-pound man can fall through the cracks, those are some big cracks.”

Thumbs Up Foundation’s purpose is to improve access to mental health care. The vision is to establish and connect resources for those patients suffering in all areas of mental health.

“We want to help improve knowledge around mental health, help to create awareness for the need for systemic changes to the current access to care and educate on the devastating loss that can result from these deficiencies,” said Titus.

She added that people are encouraged to pose with their thumbs up in the social media photos as her son could be seen in many photos making the positive hand signal.

“It is a reminder to us to stay positive and do our best to make a helpful contribution to the dialogue and awareness around mental health care and suicide prevention,” she said.

For more information on the Thumbs Up Foundation, click here.