Cpl. Julie Bion and Cpl. Peter MacDonald, both of whom have been involved with the Langley Human Dignity Coalition. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance)

Mental health stigma next target of Langley Human Dignity Coalition

The group is trying to raise awareness at an upcoming forum

Getting out better information on mental health is the topic for the next community forum organized by the Langley Human Dignity Coalition.

“More needs to be done about breaking down the stigma in regards to mental health,” said Cpl. Julie Bion, a community liaison officer with the Langley RCMP.

The forum is to be held on Thursday, May 23, 1:30 to 3 p.m. at Brookswood Baptist Church at 20581 36th Ave.

The HDC has been operating in Langley for several years, organizing events such as discussions on respect, equality, and community inclusion for groups at local schools and in the broader community.

The group exists to bring together people from a wide variety of agencies, organizations, and faith groups. It also aims to help those who are affected by racism or other forms of hatred and discrimination, helping the victims connect with agencies that can help them.

Everything from preventing bullying to making sure people with disabilities can participate in the community are among the HDC’s goals.

The upcoming meeting on mental health issues is expected to see participation from Langley Community Services Society (LCSS), Special Olympics, Fraser Health, the Langley School District, and possibly local politicians and members of the Victims Services Society affiliated with the RCMP.

Involved with the HDC for the past year, Bion said its goals of promoting inclusion and human dignity are still a work in progress.

The ideal is to have everyone’s rights respected, she said.

That means learning, including for her and other members involved.

In the last year, Bion said she has learned about equal opportunity employers, local businesses that find jobs for people with special needs. Giving people who normally would have a real problem getting into employment the dignity of a job wasn’t something Bion had thought about before she become involved with the HDC, she said.

Involved with youth issues through her work as a police officer, Bion said she’s been very excited about the youth-focused aspects of the HDC, and has found that all those involved are passionate about representing their communities within Langley.

Following the mental health discussion forum, the HDC will be holding its annual general meeting on Thursday, June 6 at 5 p.m. at Walnut Grove Secondary School. It is in the process of reaching out to local groups to invite them to come and take part at the meeting.

Anyone interested in attending the upcoming meetings should contact Bion at julie.bion@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.

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