Last year’s Human Truck Pull for Mental Health raised $10,000 for local mental health initiatives. (SUPPLIED PHOTO)
One of the Carman Fair’s most popular new additions from 2017 will be back this year.
The Human Truck Pull for Mental Health will be taking place on Saturday, July 14 during the Demo Derby intermission in front of the grandstand.
Organizers Warren McCutcheon and Tyler Russell are in charge of the event again this year, and they say it will be as much fun as last time.
“I think maybe the first year people weren’t sure what it was, but then they saw what it was all about and how much fun everyone was having,” said McCutcheon. “It’s not a formal event; it’s a lot of fun.”
McCutcheon noted that many people in the community are themselves affected by mental illness and/or have friends or family affected.
“Everybody has their struggles, and we want to support them,” he said.
The minimum donation to enter is $20 per person. You can enter as an individual or as a team. There will also be a kids division this year, with an event for those under 15 years of age eligible to participate with a minimum donation of $10.
Larger donations are also welcome. The money raised will be used to support mental health right here in Carman and the surrounding area.
McCutcheon said he hopes people will register over the next week or so, but registrations will also be accepted up until the day of the event if space if available.
Approximately $10,000 was raised for mental health initiatives last year. The funds were donated to the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba (MDAM) last November, with the understanding the money would be spent on resources for local people dealing with mental illness.
This year, that local push to improve mental health is even more in focus.
A small local committee has formed to direct the MDAM in its use of the first donation, and this year’s fundraising is expected to go toward local initiatives that are overseen by this committee.
The committee is in its early stages, but its goals are to educate the public about how to navigate the mental health system, increase awareness of existing resources, offer new programs in the area, assist with other relevant programming in the community and reduce the stigma of mental illness.
Committee member Marcy Platt got involved through her own passion for mental health and wellness. Platt’s daughter struggles with depression, so the issue is close to her heart.
Platt said the group has been looking into the mental health needs in the area, how to get the word out about resources that are already available and how to start new initiatives to meet the needs that are not already addressed.
The group has reached out to MDAM, the local public health nurse, Southern Health and local schools. They want to help youth, seniors and everyone in between.
“We want to offer some beneficial programming in the area, but also really work at advertising that and getting the word out,” said Platt.
And they want to help people understand how to navigate the health care system when they need professional help.
“We’re still learning the ropes of how to navigate this,” Platt said. She noted that one of the committee members is researching the process that takes place in the health care system, from getting prescriptions to dealing with crisis situations.
“We know it’s going to take time and energy, and start out slow, but we’re willing to do that,” she added.
The local component is one of the most important aspects for the group.
“We’re here and now, and we’re passionate about our area and our region,” Platt said.
For more information about the truck pull or to sign up, you can contact Warren McCutcheon at 204-751-0188, Tyler Russell at 204-745-7102, or Jodi Winkler at 204-745-2226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.