Culture & Entertainment

Why you should care about Light Up Purple

Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

Why you should care about Light Up Purple

Every 40 seconds someone in the world takes their own life, with a global tally of more than 800,000 suicides a year, according to a landmark World Health Organization report on the issue. The WHO has observed October 10th as World Mental Health Day since 1992, and the overall objective is to draw awareness about mental health issues that affect people around the world and to mobilize efforts that support mental health and wellness programs. Closer to home, last year you may have noticed some of the major landmarks in Canada lit up purple to mark World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10th. From The CN Tower to Niagara Falls, buildings and structures were shining purple to support another worthy campaign. The Light Up Purple campaign was spearheaded in 2013 by Carol Todd, the mother of cyber bullying victim, Amanda Todd, and founder of the Amanda Todd Legacy Society. "Light Up Purple is the coming together of a whole network of people who want to make a difference," Todd says. "These people want to remove the stigma associated with conversations surrounding mental health, and Light Up Purple is helping greatly with that." LightUpPurple Besides it being World Mental Health Day, October 10th is very significant for Todd and her family. "It also happens to be the same day that Amanda died, but I don't think she realized what it meant at that time," Todd says. "The number 10 shows up a lot for me. It was also the number on my son's hockey jersey when he played." October 10th can also be read as 10/10. Light Up Purple invites people, cities with landmarks, businesses and organizations to show their solidarity and support for mental health awareness by wearing purple on October 10th. "There's a strong connection between bullying and mental health," Todd says. "A lot of people think bullying leads to suicide, but it's actually the mental state that results from bullying that we need to focus on." This is why Todd and her team from The Amanda Todd Legacy decided to reach out and ask organizations to join in the conversation. The result? Everyone from Kids Help Phone to the Royal Bank of Canada, to Telus Wise, to organizations on university campuses and famous landmarks are now participating in Light Up Purple. It has truly become a global movement and Todd couldn't be more proud. "October 10th will always be a sad day for me for obvious reasons, but this is huge," Todd says with a smile. "It makes me feel like we have made a contribution to a worthy cause, because if you look around and see all these things lit up purple, you'll wonder why. This will start a conversation -- an important one that should happen more often and with more people at different levels." And the interesting part in all this is that the movement has grown through the very medium that initially brought Todd and her family such sadness -- social media and technology. "When the few landmarks lit up last year, people all over saw and wanted to participate somehow," she says. "Now it's growing over social media. Almost every day someone emails us to say that they're going to light up purple on October 10th. And it's fantastic." Click here for a full list of of all the organizations and landmarks that will be participating in the Light Up Purple movement this year. Show your support by wearing purple on October 10th. And if you use social media, use the hashtags #LightUpPurple and #StayStrong to share your photos and thoughts, and participate in this very important conversation. Here are five things you should know about cyber bullying. LightUpPurple Click here to learn more about the Amanda Todd Legacy. Click here to learn more about the Light Up Purple movement. Click here to learn more about Kids Help Phone.
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Why you should care about Light Up Purple

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