A new project, called “Better Together”, has been launched in Weyburn with the goal to help people connect with each other and boost their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Better Together initiative began in North Battleford, and Weyburn resident Laura Eddy has established it in Weyburn. Her goal is for Weyburn residents to wear a “Better Together” T-shirt every Tuesday throughout 2021, and to promote good mental health in various ways.
“I just want to raise awareness about mental health, because there are so many people struggling right now and suffering in silence. I’m trying to build a network of families and friends who are feeling disconnected and alone, so they will realize they are not alone,” said Eddy.
“It’s more of an initiative to get people talking about mental health and help remove the stigma around the issue,” she added, as the group will encourage residents to reach out to their friends and neighbours in the community and stay connected in any way they can.
The initiative was started in North Battleford by a high school student, after there had been a number of suicides in that community, and she came up with a way to connect people, in particular seniors and high school students.
Eddy said many new connections and friendships came out of this initiative, which has since spread to other communities in the province. The Better Together initiative has brought together many organizations, groups and businesses to create Better Together committees in many communities around Saskatchewan.
A friend of Eddy’s from Tisdale told her about it, and Eddy decided to launch it in Weyburn to help spread the positivity in the province.
A personal tragedy also led her in this direction, as she lost a brother to suicide last February. As she looked into the factors around suicide, Eddy found that many people are suffering from the lack of support under the restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as cancellation of many events and activities, even sports for young people.
“In December, I got the courage to reach out to the lady in North Battleford who runs it there, and got some ideas of how to bring it to our community,” said Eddy, adding she hopes to get the initiative into the schools, and to have families connecting with seniors also.
Eddy is preselling T-shirts, and is also hoping a sponsor or two might step up to help provide T-shirts to residents, with the idea for people to wear the shirts every Tuesday to promote the concept of “Better Together”.
In particular, she would like to focus on giving support to First Responders and other front-line workers, as they deal with issues that arise while serving the public.
In addition to the shirts, Eddy is hoping that the “Better Together” message will be incorporated into events and initiatives that are already happening in the community, and is looking to develop new ideas in the coming months to help people connect with each other.
Acknowledging a number of activities are virtual right now, due to COVID restrictions, she would like to see promotion of physical activities helping ensure good mental health for people of all ages.
If anyone has questions or would like to be involved in any way, or would like to get a “Better Together” T-shirt, contact Laura Eddy at 306-861-5531, or email the group at email@example.com.