Campout For Mental Health

Victoria Park. Photo by Alec Ross, BlackburnNews.com

A Western fraternity is teaming up with Canada’s Mental Health Association to raise awareness of mental health issues in London.

Phi Gamma Delta will host the 5th annual Austen Berlet Campout for Mental Health on Saturday.

It’s a 24-hour camping experience at Victoria Park that includes a silent auction, food vendors, sporting activities, and public speakers.

“Cultivating an environment where people feel safe and can talk about things that they’re going through, that helps them get the help they need is something that’s very important,” says Vandan Jhaveri, head co-ordinator of the event. “It’s something that’s seriously lacking in our university, college and community environments ,”

The event is in memory of Austen Berlet, a member of the fraternity who took his own life in 2009 as a result of his bipolar condition.

Since 2010, Phi Gamma Delta has held an annual campout at Victoria Park to support the Canadian Mental Health Association and raise awareness about mental health. Last year the fraternity donated $17,000 to the Middlesex CMHA.

“At first we were just breaking even, and then the more energy we put into the event the more we got out of it,” says Jhaveri. “It’s heart warming to see so much of the London community that aren’t associated with the Western community getting involved.”

 

**This story was written by Alec Ross, a student in the Broadcast Journalism program at Fanshawe College. Alec is currently performing an internship with BlackburnNews.com