The theatre at Bernice MacNaughton will be filled with laughter this Groundhog Day, as comedienne Meg Soper joins Women & Wellness founder Helen MacDonnell to celebrate Moncton’s 10th annual event.
MacDonnell started Women & Wellness, at first a small kitchen gathering of friends, after the suicide of her brother, Duncan. Her goal was to do “something meaningful” to break through the stigma surrounding mental health. In 10 years, the Moncton-based event has grown into a national campaign to support the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), with 16 events being held in six provinces in 2013.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Women and Wellness, as well as another milestone – the campaign will pass the $1 million dollar fundraising mark. The money raised across the country goes to help CMHA chapters deliver education and support to people living with mental illness, as well as their families and the public.
Roughly 500 guests at the February 2nd event will enjoy complimentary drinks and appetizers, as well as presentations from three speakers. In addition to MacDonnell, Lesley Smyth, the founder of the Atlantic Wellness Community Centre in Riverview, will share her story. The pair will be joined by Toronto-based motivational speaker and “funny nurse”, Meg Soper, who will appear courtesy of Scotiabank.
Soper has performed alongside comedic greats, including Ellen DeGeneres and Ray Romano. She blends her talents with her experiences as a registered nurse to help people find relief through humour. Soper instils in her audiences the knowledge that humour can be one of the most effective ways to deal with stress and difficult situations, something those dealing with mental health challenges know all too well.
The Moncton event is free to attend, but an invitation is required. To request one, please contact the CMHA-Moncton office at (506)859-8114 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Women & Wellness takes place Saturday, February 2nd, at the Bernice MacNaugton High School. Doors open at 6 pm with the program getting under way at 7 pm. Last year, more than $45,000 was raised for the local chapter of CMHA. That money supports several initiatives, including a program for adults living with bipolar disease and a course to help teenagers cope with depression. Regional sponsors for Women & Wellness include McInnes Cooper, Medavie Blue Cross, and Scotiabank. Shoppers Drug Mart is the event’s national sponsor.