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Run For Women Rasing Funds For Manitoba Mental Health Organization

Mental health is a severe public health problem, and maintaining one’s mental health is incredibly important.

If one thing is sure over the entire pandemic,  COVID-19 has been a drain on everyone’s mental health. But women face higher rates of mental health issues than men, with an increase of women in Manitoba reaching out for support.

On July 4 – July 11, 2021, the 9th annual Run for Women through LOVE YOU by Shoppers Drug Mart will be held as a virtual event with Canadians encouraged to participate in support of their local charity. Funds Raised in Manitoba will support Women’s Programming at Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba (MDAM). MDAM is a self-help organization dedicated to advocacy, education, and support for those with mood or mental health or other qualifying illnesses.

 Rita Chahal, Executive Director at Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba
Rita Chahal, Executive Director at Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba

“Our mission at Mood Disorders Association is to help people help themselves,” says Rita Chahal, Executive Director. “We are a self-help organization dedicated to providing support, education and advocacy for those living with mental health illnesses. Every dollar raised by Run for Women supports mothers, daughters, and friends in our community to take the next step to recovery. Initiatives like Run for Women help our organization deliver programs that provide women with the unique support they need.”

The funding is dedicated to Women’s Programming as one in three women are affected by mental health disorders like depression and anxiety, and are hit harder by economic impacts, says Eileen McDonald, Women’s Programming Manager at MDAM.

Eileen McDonald, Womens Program Manager at Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba
Eileen McDonald, Women’s Program Manager at Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba

“The majority of single-parent households disproportionately hold jobs within informal economies in service sectors with less social protection. This leaves women less able to absorb economic shocks. The United Nations reports women both on the front-line and at home are experiencing disproportionate rates of mental illness during the pandemic. We know women make up 70 percent of the healthcare workforce globally, and anecdotally we’ve seen higher rates of COVID related to anxiety and depression for women and youth. We also know women are twice as likely as men to experience mental illness.”

Eileen adds that statistics gathered during the pandemic have shown that women and youth have been the most impacted. MDAM is working to create supports that give individuals positive coping mechanisms. Their services are based on a peer-support model, working with someone with a shared mental health experience. These support groups help form a community and a positive environment to have conversations on mental wellness.

Some of the programs supported through the Shoppers Love You Run for Women are the Women’s Wellness Group, Women’s Speakers Series, Peer-Support Groups, Disordered Eating Program, and Postpartum Warmline.

Although the pandemic has taken a tremendous toll on the world, Rita believes there is one small ray of hope that has come out of people forced to be physically apart. People have had to find new ways to become closer, which has allowed for those mental health conversations.

“People are talking about mental health in a more open, informed manner. There isn’t a day that goes by now where the media, legislative decision-makers, or the general public aren’t talking about it. That dialogue that has started has people recognizing physical and mental health are absolutely critical, not only now but always are.”

The Official Run for Women Event Day is July 11, but participants can complete their own run or walk anytime between July 4 – 11, 2021. Registration for the 2021 Run for Women is $45.00, with proceeds from the registration fee for Manitoba participants going to the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba.

The grand finale will be a national broadcast on July 11 featuring the 18 different run host cities and local charities. All participants will be invited to join this virtual party after taking to the streets in their neighbourhoods to complete their walk/run.

Make a difference for the women in your community and join in the fun by signing up at before June 25, 2021.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of U Multicultural.

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