Using the power of words and music

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High Notes Avante is a soon to be charity using the power of words and music to help those touched by mental illness move forward.

“We use words to share the success stories of everyday heroes and to showcase celebrities that have returned to normal and perhaps even happy lives after experiencing a mental health issue and–of course–to communicate to others,” says Ingrid Taheri, Artistic and Executive Director of the non-profit that is working hard to elevate the status of mental illness survivors.

“We use music because it speaks to us all and can penetrate our hearts and express what there are no words for. Music can heal our souls when medicine can’t. Music is entertaining—but can also draw attention to issues we are not aware of!”

“One in five Canadians are impacted by mental illness but one in five people do not have the courage to reach out for help and that is what we want to change.  We aim to empower, educate and shatter the stigma that surrounds mental illness.  Simply put, we want to save lives.”

Paul Cappuccio, the Clinical Director of Mental Health, Family Medicine, Emergency Services at Markham Stouffville Hospital and a Lecturer at Queens spoke at a recent High Notes Avante concert: “Tonight is a shining example of the power of a positive vision.  Tonight we again try to wrestle mental health stigma to the ground.  Word by word…note by note….,” he said. “Stigma left unchallenged drains our voices and spirit.  Data from the Mental Health Commission of Canada suggests that 60% of people with a mental health problem or illness won’t seek help for fear of being labeled.  Sixty percent live with illness and suffer from it in silence.  We would not tolerate that with any other health condition,” said Cappuccio who also is a Director on High Notes Avante’s Board.

“Several studies have found that media plays a key role in shaping public opinions about mental health and illness. Mainstream media frequently feature negative images and stereotypes about mental health conditions and these portrayals have been strongly linked to the general public’s development of fears and misunderstanding.  Did you know that the prevalence of violence perpetrated by people with mental illness is less than the general “normal” population, but listening to mainstream media, you would never know that,” Cappuccio adds.

Let us set the record straight! High Notes Avante is planning the third High Notes Gala for Mental Health, to take place on April 28th at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts.  Tickets, starting at only $35, are available by calling 905.787.8811 or visiting rhcentre.ca and would make great Valentine gifts. Anchor magazine’s Bill MacPhee is one of the speakers together with Dr. David Goldbloom of CAMH and Julie Everson who performs spoken word poetry. Singer Jean Stilwell of Classical 96.3 FM is cohosting the concert together with Luba Goy of CBC’s Air Farce (Seen in photo above together with Ingrid). They have both been touched by mental illness and will help inspire you and others to move forward on higher notes. World-class operatic tenor Richard Margison and Grammy nominated flutist Ron Korb, violin prodigy Mercedes Cheung are also part of the program. Ballet Jorgen will perform a Beatles number and there is much more to send you on a rollercoaster of emotions.

A multitude of mental health organization will be available in the lobby, including The Krasman Centre, Kinark, CAMH, Blue Hills the Canadian Mental Health Association and Magpie Media. “There are many wonderful mental health professionals and organizations available to help people through the recovery period and we are working hard to connect them with our audience,” says Ingrid.

For more information or sponsorship opportunities, please call 416.605.8915 or visit our website at www.highnotesavante.ca.

 

Ingrid Taheri

Artistic & Executive Director,

High Notes Avante Productions Inc.

416.605.8915

 

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