Luba Goy! Dan Hill!Ron Korb!Ballet Jorgen!Robert Kortgaard!David W Barber!Bill MacPhee!Dr. Adam Enchin! What could they have in common?They all have a mental health story and are speaking and performing at the 2017 High Notes Gala for Mental Health on Saturday May 6th.
The High Notes Gala aims to raise the image of mental illness through the power of words and music. We’ve interviewed all participants about their connection to mental illness. In reading their stories we hope also you will want to share your mental health story. Just as with other things in life, we can learn from each other’s experiences and get stronger. (Click on their highlighted names in order to read their full stories). Hope to see you at the Flato Markham Theatre on Saturday! Current mental health clients are entitled to up to 4 tickets for free by calling 905.305.7469 and mentioning the code WE ALL HAVE A STORY.
Comedienne Luba Goy, who will host the event, says “People are afraid and uncertain about what they don’t understand. The topic is seldom discussed. It wasn’t until a good friend was hospitalized—when her world imploded—that I witnessed the serious side of depression.”Grammy nominated virtuoso flutist, Ron Korb, urges everyone to “develop some self awareness” so that when and if mental illness comes, we will be able to seek help instead of shying away from the issue. “If you acknowledge and confront a problem,” he says, “you already have 75 per cent of the problem solved.”Child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Adam Enchin, believes music should be used more for its emotion regulation and calming effects.When Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter Dan Hill would sing to his manic-depressive mother in the piano room at the hospital other psychiatric patients would come in and sing along. “Music is incredibly soothing,” he says. “It relaxes the brain and increases production of feel good emotions and endorphins.” Two and a half years ago, Hill was diagnosed as bipolar himself. He says: “not talking about mental illness is a bigger problem than the illness itself.”“It is pretty common with dancers [to ignore mental health problems] since we are actors too,” says Ballet Jorgen’s Daniel Da Silva. “We are trained to keep the show going even if we are in pain—and it translates to real life too. We just bottle it up and keep going.” He thinks the hardest thing for someone on the outside looking in is to know how to respond.We all need an outlet for our feelings. For Robert Kortgaard, that outlet is the piano. Being around family and friends with mental health issues has helped Kortgaard develop sensitivity and awareness. “I could also have been very unhappy,” he says, “and the effects could have been disastrous if I didn’t have the piano.”
Mental Health Recovery Expert Bill MacPhee has lived with schizophrenia from the age of 24 and spent five years in and out of hospitals and group homes. He says mental illness is akin to suffering from “emotional blandness and lack of joy.” Stigma and negative portrayals in the media is one of the greatest barriers to recovery for those affected as they often suffer alone afraid of being judged. Although psychiatrists told him he would never contribute to society, he has moved forward and provides a beacon of hope for everyone else who is currently suffering.