Tomorrow (Thursday) marks World Mental Health Day — an unfortunate irony not lost on Carol Todd.
That’s because Oct. 10 also marks a year since her daughter Amanda committed suicide, thrusting her daughter’s story and the issues of bullying and mental health into the spotlight.
These days, talking about and promoting World Mental Health Day is what keeps Carol busy and focused.
“It’s given me something to work on,” she told the Tri-Cities NOW, adding the event is a distraction from focusing on Amanda’s death.
The PoCo teen committed suicide on Oct. 10, 2012, a month after posting a YouTube video depicting how she was relentlessly bullied after naked photos of her were posted online.
For the last few months, in preparation for Oct. 10, Carol has been liaising with groups around the country to raise awareness for the special day.
And her efforts have paid off, as the Amanda Todd Legacy Society and the World Federation of Mental Health have teamed up for an initiative called “Lighting up the World in Purple.”
The idea is to have buildings and businesses lit up to promote mental health.
And some pretty impressive attractions have decided to take part, including Niagara Falls and the CN Tower in Toronto, and BC Place Stadium and the Olympic Cauldron in Vancouver.
Locally, Lafarge Lake in Coquitlam will be lit purple, while the Brovold Room at Port Moody City Hall will also be lit in the colour. Several local businesses are also taking part in the event.
While the day is in part a tribute to Amanda, her mother is quick to downplay that aspect.
“That makes me happy we can spread wellness,” Carol said.
But the date does present an opportunity for the PoCo mom to reflect on the last year.
In the months since Amanda’s death, Carol said she’s gotten stronger and more informed about the issues that ultimately led to her daughter’s suicide.
She also believes there has been a positive shift in thinking both in society and government when it comes to bullying and mental health.
However, Carol suggested it will take time before the change is realized in people’s lives.
“It’s the kids and the parents that need to make that shift in how they’re interacting and what they’re doing,” she said.
To see a list of activities planned for World Mental Health Day and to learn more about the Amanda Todd Legacy Society, check out amandatoddlegacy.org.
© Copyright 2013