Open Minds awarded JoAnne Halle, Geraldton, ON resident with $12,500.00 today in the Open Minds Lottery 50/50 draw. In addition, a donation of $12,500.00 from the lottery is going to Canadian Mental Health Association Thunder Bay Branch. The Branch is directing all proceeds from the lottery to help fund their education and training programs that help reduce the stigma around mental health issues our community faces.
Open Minds developed the concept for a 50/50 lottery in 2019 when hearing about the Stubbing’s family commitment to encouraging open conversations about suicide and to raise awareness in the hopes of preventing others from suffering the same fate through their annual golf tournament. The lottery was put on hold the last year due to COVID.
“We quickly realized that we (Open Minds Committee) needed to bring the 50/50 lottery back for 2021. We had a story to tell too relating to mental health awareness and suicide prevention amidst the pandemic. Too many of use saw friends and family members struggling with their own mental health amongst the uncertainty that COVID and its restrictions brought to our homes. Together, by bringing the lottery back during a pandemic, we feel we’re breaking down the barriers of stigma, opening doors to having conversations about mental health issues and how it affects us all; every day,” Grant Eklund, Committee member for Open Minds said
“At the start, we were worried that sales were not going to take off, we printed 5,000 tickets, our very last ticket being sold on Boxing Day. It felt like a Christmas miracle, our community members committed to help other community members from across the region who rely on the mental health expertise that Canadian Mental Health Association Thunder Bay Branch provides. What truly amazed us was the number of people who shared their own experiences with mental illness and suicide when purchasing a ticket,” adds Grant Eklund, Committee Chair, Open Minds.
The 50/50 lottery was a community affair with support from local businesses and organizations coming on board to support the administration costs so that all dollars raised from ticket sales could go directly to the grand prize winner JoAnne Halle and Canadian Mental Health Association Thunder Bay Branch.
“When I first got the call, I thought someone was playing a joke on me. It took me a couple of days to settle down. I’ve watched the draw on Facebook (just to make sure), and I still feel very lucky that my name was selected. I have been asked what I plan on doing with my winnings. This summer, we will plan a trip to Vancouver, Winnipeg and Sudbury to spend some time with family,” Joanne Halle, Open Minds 50/50 lottery winner said.
“We are so grateful to the Open Minds 50/50 Lottery Draw, the funds provided will allow us to deliver an innovative mental health education program focused on post pandemic stressors for our community. Mental Health educational programming is vital to the services we provide and aims to help people gain back their confidence and learn new life skills which we hope will help them return to independence, healthy living and provides strategies to navigate their journey to well-being. We would like to express our gratitude to the Open Minds committee members, sponsors and most of all the community members who purchased tickets from the lottery,” explains Jennifer Hyslop, CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association, Thunder Bay Branch.
CMHA Thunder Bay Branch is committed to providing #mentalhealthforall with community well-being the sole focus. The branch offers over 25 specialized mental health, crisis response, recovery, and education programs to serve those with mild to severe mental illness. We are unique in having a Crisis Response Centre and Health Clinic onsite to provide comprehensive first response and primary care to individuals and their families. We work collaboratively with community partners to ensure the right services at the right time and assist in diversion. Prevention and education are also key areas of focus by providing mental health promotion, accessible education, and training programs to the community with a special focus on suicide prevention.