You Are Not Alone – event recap

Media coverage
Radio interview with Rob Murray at MountainFM (2min 43sec)
Newspaper article written by Marie Conboy in Banff’s Crag and Canyon

Thank you
Andrea Butler – for so many things! She was there with me the entire day. We had a lot of laughter and fun blended with some wonderfully vulnerable conversations about her journey with both bipolar disorder and depression. Andrea bravely did Facebook live videos. She also gave me invaluable insight and feedback after the event. Thank you Andrea so much for generously donating your time, and for all of your support of both me and the event!

Jean-Francois Dupras – for being there the entire afternoon and joining Andrea and I in some wonderful honest and enriching conversations about both his depression journey and mental health. He also did some fantastic Facebook live videos. Thank you Jean-Francois for generously donating your time and being so supportive of both me and the event! He is doing a multi-year project for mental health awareness in which he’s climbing the 7 Summits while raising funds for the CMHA. Check out his Facebook page and website.

Jim at Defending Awesome Shirts – for the fantastic gifted logo. Jim has been generously gifting his time, creative genius, support, and merchandise to friends and I since 2015’s “4 Peaks”. Thank you Jim for everything that you do for myself and mental health awareness. Check out Defending Awesome Shirts here.

Rob Murray at MountainFM – for being so supportive of both me and the various mental health awareness events that I’ve done in the Bow Valley since 2015. He has interviewed me, or friends and I, for each mental health awareness event that I’ve lead since 2015. If you require a fantastic DJ in the Bow Valley or Calgary I can’t recommend him enough!

Luke Hayes at Banff Lodging Company – for including this event in their weekly employee newsletter. Thank you Luke for being so kind as to spread the word about this event!

Recap of the day
Andrea and I got to the Canmore Nordic Centre day lodge right at 9am and got set up. I went and talked to the information area to let them know where we were located for those coming to the event. We had lots of good food and drinks, my laptop, tripod for Facebook live videos, cards, a board game, and a few books. Together her and I brainstormed a list of topics for potential Facebook live videos. Approximately every 30-60 minutes throughout the day we did a Facebook live video. Jean-Francois came just after lunch. We packed it in just before 5pm. After that, Andrea and I went out for supper. Part of that time was spent going over a debrief of the day – what went well, what didn’t go well, and what could be improved/changed. Fortunate the list of what didn’t go well was the shortest of the bunch. I’m grateful to have had wonderful conversations all day, with both Andrea and Jean-Francois 🙂

Embrace something different – I had never done this type of event before. It was totally different from the four previous bipolar disorder awareness and fundraising hikes that I had done. I wasn’t sure if anyone would come, if anyone would watch the videos, or how exactly the day would go. I decided to face my fear and do it anyways and am glad that I did 🙂

Tears of gratitude – while driving the day before You Are Not Alone, I heard the pre-recorded MountainFM interview that I did for this event. It was so cool to hear it and I had tears of gratitude come down. My intention for the event was to reach the people that could really use support. I was thinking that if I would have heard about the You Are Not Alone event at different times in my bipolar journey when I had depression, that I would have went.

People in the day lodge – while we were shooting Facebook live videos during the event, different people came up to myself and others. A few stated how what we’re doing is “so needed”, and another woman thanked us for doing this and spreading the word. That was very touching and meaningful for them to tell us that. Many of the conversations in the day lodge would quieten to a near hush level while we were shooting live videos. That was unexpected and greatly appreciated!

According to Facebook… – according to Facebook we were 40 meters away from the event the entire day. I know very little about GPS… Andrea and I had a good laugh about that a few times since we were RIGHT at the event!

Panel style video – in the afternoon I had a brainwave to do a “panel-sytle” Facebook live video with Andrea, Jean-Francois and I. With the topic being “stigma for men with mental illness”. Overall I was really happy with how both the discussion and video turned out.

Acceptance and gratitude – it was initially disappointing to me that there were only two participants. I was optimistic that more people would show up given the media attention. As the day went on it became apparent that there would only be the two people participating. Instead of feeling bad for myself and being unhappy that more people did not come, I decided to shift my focus to who was there. The two people who did come were awesome and I am so grateful that they did. And we had hundreds of people watch the videos 🙂

Videos from the day
These videos were all shot live via Facebook during the event. As of March 20, 2019 the Facebook live videos from that day have been viewed on Facebook a total of 1,766 times. The videos were all uploaded into YouTube and appear below.

About the You Are Not Alone logo

Andrea talks about decluttering

Lift Me Up Toolkit

Click here to receive your copy of the Lift Me Up Toolkit

Christmas mood vampires

What is your passion?

Andrea’s turning point

My turning point

Jean-Francois’ turning point


Stigma for men with mental illness

Thank you

Photos from the day

Andrea at mission control for the event


Sun poking behind the mountain at 12:25pm on one of the shortest days of the year


Andrea, Jean-Francois, and I at the event


Me with the gorgeous East End of Rundle in the background

Encore event?
I would love to do this event again at some point in December 2019.
Possible locations include:
– Canmore Nordic Centre in Canmore
– Winsport in Calgary
– Mt Norquay in Banff

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Posted in Depression, Events, Support, Video, Vulnerability

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