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Red Deerians raise mental health awareness on #BellLetsTalk

Red Deer Advocate - 1/31/2019

"If you hurt your ankle, you see the doctor. You get the help you need to manage what you're dealing with. I encourage those who are hurting, to get help. I did. It's worth it. You're worth it."

That's the message one Red Deerian had on #BellLetsTalk on Wednesday.

Shaelyn Moltzahn, a former Lindsay Thurber student and a current Red Deer College student and athlete, is someone who has dealt with anxiety and depression.

Moltzahn was featured on a Red Deer Public School District Twitter page Wednesday.

The 21-year-old said mental health concerns are something everyone deals with from time to time.

Moltzahn, a runner for the RDC Queens cross country and track team, often had race anxiety, but the sports culture rescued her.

"I think if I wouldn't have been in athletics, I probably would've had less anxiety and less worry, less stress, because you get nervous before your races, before games, so it brings stresses on, but so does life.

"So sports have largely taught me how to deal with those emotions," she said Wednesday.

On Bell Let's Talk Day she wanted to spread the message that you're not alone and there is help and supports in place.

On Wednesday, each time people watched the official Bell Let's Talk Day video on Instagram or Twitter, Bell committed to donate five cents toward mental health initiatives. That was also applicable for each time people tweeted using #BellLetsTalk, or used the Bell Let's Talk Facebook Frame or Snapchat filter.

The hashtag was also trending in Red Deer. Red Deer Public School and Red Deer Catholic school districts and Red Deer College tweeted mental health wellness messages.

Red Deer Public School superintendent Stu Henry said he welcomes any opportunity to talk about mental health and reduce the stigma, and Bell Let's Talk Day helps with exactly that.

"I think we recognize mental health is becoming a growing issue for our students, our staff and our families," said Henry.

He noted some of the schools within the district have programs that support mental health awareness, such as lessons that are not part of the curriculum that teach students about self image and resiliency.

"This program reduces the stigma starting at a very young age and we start to give them some of the vocabulary that they will need to be successful," said Henry.

Other programs such as mental health therapists working right in the school buildings also help students.

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools, such as Father Henri Voisin, St. Dominic Catholic and St. Patrick's Community School also participated in raising mental health awareness on Bell Let's Talk Day.