World lights up purple for Mental Health Day

Day coincides with the first anniversary of Amanda Todd's death

  • Oct. 10, 2013 11:00 a.m.

From Niagara Falls and CN tower in Toronto to stadiums and city halls from Winnipeg to Langford, the world pledged to glow purple Thursday for Mental Health Day.

Oct. 10 also marked the first anniversary of Amanda Todd’s death, a Port Coquitlam teen who took her own life after struggling with depression and cyberbullying.

For the past six weeks, Amanda’s mother Carol has been drumming up support for the “Light Up the World Purple” campaign (purple being Amanda’s favourite colour), which encourages cities and organizations around the globe to light structures in support of World Mental Health Day.

“This is something we need to do to support one another and raise awareness about mental health issues,” Todd said.

Through social media, Todd got cities in Australia, the U.K. and U.S. to pledge their support.

Niagara Falls was set to light up purple on Thursday as was a bridge in Boston, the Los Angeles Airport, Mac the Moose in Moose Jaw, as well as Science World, B.C. Place and the Langevin Bridge in Calgary Alberta.

In Maple Ridge, the school district decided to focus on Mental Health Day instead of focusing on Todd’s legacy, although she attended school in the local school district for a period.

The concern – shared by other school districts – is that media coverage can contribute to already existing suicidal ideation in vulnerable students, said SD42 spokesperson Irena Pochop.

“So shifting the focus of the conversation to mental health was seen as a safer, healthier and more constructive approach. Carol Todd herself has become a great mental health advocate, so this is the focus for her today as well,” she added.

A few people chose to wear purple on Thursday, including Anelma Brown, vice-principal of Garibaldi secondary in Maple Ridge.

Since Todd’s death, there has been a greater awareness of bullying and harassment, and schools in particular have worked hard to develop strategies to educate students about social media.

For Brown, addressing bullying means building a school where everyone feels accepted.

“We try our best to eradicate it, but it’s high school,” said Brown, noting that social media is a game changer for many students and staff.

A few months before her death, Amanda made a video that described how she had been stalked and bullied online after “flashing” someone online.

The video went viral after she died.

“It’s easy to hide behind the anonymity of a screen and Tweet out. Unfortunately, it still hurts,” said Brown.

“We’ve really gone out of our way to create a culture of care and a culture of acceptance at Garibaldi. I make a point of making letting students know that this is a place where everybody is welcome, that everybody is here to learn.”

 

Song for Amanda

The story of Amanda Todd’s struggles with cyberbullying and depression after her online activities has been recreated in a tribute video.

Released on the eve of the one-year anniversary of her death, the video recounts Todd’s story along with a song called Believe, by Maple Ridge singer Beatrice Sallis.

Brent Hampton, a Port Coquitlam dad studying and working in the recording arts industry, was a consultant on the project and is helping to publicize the video. He said the images may be difficult to watch, but ultimately the message is positive because it encourages people to believe in themselves.

“The whole purpose of the video, and I think the purpose in the end, is to show people that they don’t have to succumb to people’s suggestions of what they think of you.”

– with files from the Tri-City News.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Snowfall warnings Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 for parts of the Fraser Valley and Fraser Canyon. (Jennifer Feinberg/The Chilliwack Progress)
Winter storm warnings Thursday for Fraser Valley and Fraser Canyon

Snow is expected to become heavier as day progresses with snowfall amounts of up to 30 centimetres

Annemieke Vrijmoed sent in this photo that for her captures the magic of the Fraser River.
SHARE: The magic of the Fraser River

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Members of Katzie First Nation got into the spirit of Pink Shirt Day with honking, car decoration, and drumming. (Ronan O’Doherty/ The News)
Katzie First Nation recognizes Pink Shirt Day with ‘honking’ parade

Community rallies together to promote anti-bullying message

COVID-19 (Pixabay)
COVID-19 exposures at schools in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Alexander Robinson and Edit McDermott are latest elementary schools exposed

City council reviewed the Growing Together report, and its vision for downtown Maple Ridge.
Pocket parks, walkability, safety are highlights of Maple Ridge downtown vision

Homelessness and crime could undermine vision for city says Robson

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

A woman boards a transit bus through rear doors, in Vancouver, on Friday, March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
TransLink slow to reveal crucial details about ransomware attack, says union

Union says company took months to admit what info was stolen, including SIN and bank account details

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

Most Read