The holiday season is often recognized as a joyful and celebratory time. But for 1 in 2 Canadians, it’s not the most wonderful time of the year. In fact, it can be a painful and very lonely time.
That’s something that songwriter Michael Dalton understands well and has worked to highlight nearly every December 25 for the past several years through an annual performance and fundraiser in support for mental health.
“Christmas can be such a dark time for so many people,” Dalton explains. “I wanted to do something that gives people a place to be so they don’t have to be alone on Christmas to raise awareness about the existence of stigma around mental illness, which sometimes why people end up alone or feeling alone.”
This year, Dalton, who hails from Newfoundland and is now based in Halifax, opted to try a virtual event, performing his music isolated in his van-turned-camper deep in the woods of Margaree Valley.
Historically, he adds, the event was an in-person concert held at The Local on Gottingen Street in Halifax.
“Christmas can be such a dark time for so many people. I wanted to do something that gives people a place to be so they don’t have to be alone on Christmas to raise awareness about the existence of stigma around mental illness, which sometimes why people end up alone or feeling alone.”
– Michael Dalton
“The event has always been about giving people a place to be so they don’t have to be alone on Christmas,” Dalton explains. “This year I hoped that the videos might accomplish something similar.”
Last year he was unable to hold his event because of the gathering restrictions resulting from the Pandemic. He felt this year, in particular, was an important year to revive the event and share his message.
“The stigma around mental illness is a major obstacle [to getting help] for a lot of people, and I hope that these events can raise awareness about this and make it so other people feel more comfortable trying to figure it all out.”
Dalton’s fundraiser brought in $800, which he says he would like to go towards the crisis line and/or education aimed at reducing the stigma around mental illness. Donations to CMHA NS help us provide free programming that supports the resilience and recovery of the 1 in 4 Nova Scotians currently experiencing a mental illness. We deeply appreciate every donation.
Watch a clip of Michael Dalton’s performance on December 25 HERE
Learn more about Michael Dalton at https://linktr.ee/Dalton.
About CMHA NS Division: Founded in 1908, CMHA NS is the most established, most extensive community mental health organization in Canada. Through a presence in 36 communities across the province, CMHA NS provides advocacy and resources that help to prevent mental health problems and illnesses, support recovery and resilience, and enable all Nova Scotians to flourish and thrive. Our mission is to ensure that all people in Nova Scotia experience good mental health and well-being.