Hope in the Darkness - Walk for Youth Mental Health

B.C., Indigenous Policing Services

2020-10-07 13:09 PDT

The Hope in the Darkness Walk for Youth Mental Health is an annual national mental health initiative for young people, and national call to action for police officers to walk with youth for youth.

The aim of the walk is to create awareness of the issue of Youth Mental Health, and provide police officers the opportunity to meet youth in communities across Canada, and listen to their stories along the way.

Photo of Sgt. Redsky, two boys, and a dog.

The initiative was created by retired Sergeant Kevin Redsky, a former officer with the Anishinabek Police Service in Ontario, in partnership with the BC RCMP Indigenous Policing Services (IPS) and First Nation Policing Program (FNPP).

This is a valuable opportunity for communities to join together for the wellbeing, strong identities and healthy lives of young people. With support from across the country, Hope in the Darkness works with schools, youth groups, Indigenous communities, mental health services and families.

Photo of Sgt. Redsky with the mayor of Rossland.

The 2020 campaign began in July in Winnipeg and has made its way to BC, and this year has been a challenging one. Not only did Sgt. Redsky and those officers and members of the various communities who participated have to adhere to restrictions of the provincial health authorities and maintain distancing because of Covid-19, they also had to deal with smoke from the wildfires. Though the conditions were not always optimal and presented unforeseen delays, the health of the walkers and participants was also a priority.

Photo of Sgt. Redsky and an officer in front of RCMP pickup truck.

The initiative has received a great deal of support from the communities it has traveled through. Sgt. Redsky has been joined by members from various detachments in the communities to bring awareness and show support to those dealing with the issue of youth mental health.

Photo of Sgt. Redsky and an officer in front of Salmo sign.

I am so fortunate to have been able to participate in this initiative. Despite some challenging conditions this summer, unlike previous years, Sgt. Redsky and the team have really managed to persevere for this cause, said Corporal Anthony Cameron of Indigenous Police Services. The issue of youth mental health affects everyone and the only way to help vulnerable youth is to educate ourselves. No community is unique in this way, and I’ve seen how this initiative has sparked conversations throughout the journey. Hopefully we together we can find a solution.

In order to destigmatize issues of youth mental health we need to have open discussion and create more opportunities for dialogue, so that we can find ways to get those in need the help they require, said Inspector Dee Stewart, Officer in Charge of Indigenous Police Services. Youth mental health is and has been a priority for the BC RCMP as a part of a greater divisional youth strategy and we want to continue to work with our partners to find solutions and offer support to the most vulnerable people in our communities.

The cross-country journey is slated to go past E Division RCMP Headquarters at Green Timbers on October 11, 2020. The walk will conclude in Ambleside Park in West Vancouver on October 12.

For more information and how you can join the walk when it comes through your community, including routes and dates, please visit routes, and dates, please visit www.hopeinthedarkness.ca.

Release by:
BC RCMP Communications
(778) 290-2929

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