To sit around and dream is not usually an activity that is encouraged, although most of us love John Lennon’s song Imagine. But at High Notes Avante we know we wouldn’t be where we are today if we hadn’t allowed ourselves to explore the possibilities of our dreams.
We dreamt of putting on an inspirational musical event that would help those touched by mental illness move forward.
Although humble at first, our dreams are now growing bigger and bigger. Thanks to the support of many old and new friends we are striving to really change how society treats the topic of mental illness.
Mental illness affects one in five Canadians directly and almost everyone indirectly. Still, due to stigma we are scared to open up and admit it. Mental illness is generally given a bad rep in the media and many suffer in silence afraid of being labeled crazy.
Our dream is to change that. And we feel that we have made some progress. Even the members on our own Board of Directors are opening up about their own struggles in a manner they wouldn’t when we first grouped up. The wonderful thing is that 80 per cent manage to overcome or live with their illnesses and disorders. Help can be found! (We dream for it to reach 99 per cent!)
In a society where we worship celebrities, High Notes Avante is showcasing those successfully living with mental illness to prove to the world it is OK. Although it may seem unbearable right now your issues may be treated and you may live a normal life again. Mental illness survivors are to be as respected and celebrated as cancer and heart transplant survivors because they suffer just as much—if not more.
The outgoing Ontario Bar Association president, Orlando Da Silva, is our hero for sharing his story of living with constant depression. So is Canadian tenor Richard Margison, who sang in support of singer-songwriter daughter Lauren, who has struggled with depression. Spoken Word Artist Julie Everson uses her talent to express what life with mental illness can be like. All give hope to others that they again can find joy despite their condition, whether it is depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder. (Watch a synopsis of our last concert here!)
By showcasing their talent and stories we will destroy the stigma and slowly open up for a society where our mental health is valued as much as our physical health.
We may be dreamers but we are not the only ones… Other dreamers have used the power of words and music for the advancement of many other great causes before us: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benefit_concert)
The time has come for mental illness!
Please visit highnotesavante.ca to donate or get involved.
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