Support for Sudbury Defeat Depression event exceeds expectations

The Sudbury Defeat Depression Walk/Run returned to Bell Park on Saturday, as the COVID-19 pandemic eases and normal events resume. (Lyndsay Aelick/CTV News)

The Sudbury Defeat Depression Walk/Run returned to Bell Park on Saturday, as the COVID-19 pandemic eases and normal events resume.

The walk was rained out in 2019 and the last two years were virtual events, so organizers said they set the expectations low as participants came back to an in-person event this year.

“At first we thought maybe a hundred -- in our wildest dreams --participants signing up,” said Martin Boucher, executive director of the Northern Initiative for Social Action (NISA).

"Just week over week that limit just kept going up the response of the community was just so great."

The annual event is a national mental health fundraising campaign. It's an initiative of Mood Disorders Society of Canada that provides funds for local community health organizations.

NISA is the beneficiary in Sudbury. It's a peer support mental health service.

Initially hoping to raise $25,000, officials said more than 300 people participated Saturday and raised about $85,000, most of which will stay in Sudbury.

“A small percentage goes to the Mood Disorders Society of Canada to do some national campaigning for peer organizations and community mental health," said Boucher.

"Here in Sudbury, the thing about fundraised dollars is we can really pivot and use it as we want."

Participants on Saturday said what it comes down to is raising awareness and reminding people that they are not alone.

NISA has seen a significant increase in the need for mental health services during the pandemic and officials said Saturday's event will allow the organization to expand community outreach and ensure it can continue to provide quality programs and services.

For more information about NISA, click here or call (705) 222-6472.