By Linda Scales
On May 8, the critical role mothers play in spotting mental illness in their children and helping them get the support they need will be celebrated at a special event. Bows for Butterflies will stage a Mother’s Day benefit concert to say “thanks” to all Ottawa moms. For the fifth time since 2009, this local volunteer initiative is raising funds for the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre’s youth and family support programs.
Mental illness affects all Canadians, whether they know it or not. There are the direct costs of treatment, indirect costs of lost productivity in the workplace and, in human terms, lost enjoyment of life. In Ontario, about one in five children and youth will experience some form of mental illness, which translates to about 300,000 families directly affected. Mothers are often the first to notice changes in their children’s behaviour and the first to seek help for them.
This year’s concert, sponsored in part by uOttawa, will feature performances by Ottawa’s premiere chamber orchestra, Thirteen Strings, and by Musicalement Fleet, a local ensemble of three young musicians. Youth speaker Kieran Ménard will talk about his struggle with mental illness, his progress and his mother’s efforts to help.
Three uOttawa students — Stacy Kosmerly (psychology), Jonah Poplove (music) and Otto Hall (geography) — will tell their own stories. Thanks to their moms, they have received professional help and are doing well today.
A silent auction and information fair will start at 2 p.m., with the program beginning at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students and will be available at the door and online.
Bell’s Let’s Talk and FrischkornMEDIACO (FMAV) are also supporting the event.
Founded in 2009, Bows for Butterflies raises awareness of youth mental health issues, and raises funds for services. The concerts combine inspirational stories with uplifting music and have raised more than $37,000 for the Royal’s youth and family support programs.