My name is Dom. I am a 45-year-old father of two and married to a beautiful Prince Edward Islander from Charlottetown. We have two children aged 14 and 11. I am a Lebanese-Canadian citizen who was raised in Nova Scotia from a young age. A career in Human Resources Management steered my family and I away from Atlantic Canada for 10 years, but we eventually found ourselves back on the East Coast, once again drinking in all the wonderful salt air we missed so dearly. Today, I call Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia my home, but in the summer, we like to escape to our summer cottage, located on the wonderful north shores of PEI.
My passion is running. I wouldn’t have said this two years ago, but after sustaining a back injury and hitting an emotional rock bottom, I decided to make a lifestyle change that involved better dietary choices and adding runs to my daily cardio routine. After losing 90lbs in an effort to better myself, I soon realized how running had also become an integral part of my mental health conditioning. It changed my life…
Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend, or colleague. As a young adult, I had my own battle with anxiety (still do at times) and felt the crippling grips depression can have on one’s well-being. My mother (who was a social and contagious person to be around), had developed serious mental health issues in the final years of her life as she battled progressive physical diseases that eventually took her life at a young age. I have lost close friends to suicide - one of them as young as 13 when he took his own life. Although these are a few events that I reflect on, every Canadian can draw from their own experiences where mental health has had an effect on themselves, a loved one, or a friend.
Mental health in Canada has changed since the start of the pandemic. In fact, mental health concerns are on the rise with Atlantic Canadians, experiencing the largest spike in anxiety and depression since the pandemic began. With economic shutdowns, school closures, and mandates for social isolation to slow the spread of COVID-19, Atlantic Canadians felt the hard impact the pandemic has had on their mental wellbeing. The intense stress and disruption brought on by the pandemic is causing pronounced mental health concerns, including an increase in suicides and suicidal thoughts - particularly among our young.
There has never been a more important time in our history where support for our mental health is paramount. This is why I am running across beautiful Prince Edward Island in an effort to raise money for the Canadian Mental Health Association in Atlantic Canada. On July 3, 2021, I will begin my 295 km journey in Tignish and spend the next ten days on the Confederation Trail until I reach my destination, Elmira, situated on the North-Eastern side of the island.
Please join me in making a difference by supporting a good cause. All proceeds that I raise will be directed to the CMHA divisions in Atlantic Canada to help them provide advocacy, programs, and resources that help to prevent mental health problems and illnesses, support recovery and resilience to Atlantic Canadians in need.
Thank you in advance for your contribution to this cause, which means so much to me, and will mean the same to those in need of mental health support.