Tag Archives: Sudbury teen

Hundred of Sudburians run for mental health

Some cool and damp conditions couldn’t break the spirit of nearly 500 runners who made their way to Rotary Park on April 23 for the first annual Unbreakable Spring Open.

The run was spearheaded by Lo-Ellen Park student Josh Tillson and his friend Lauren-Ashleigh Beaudry of Lockerby Composite School.

“There’s always been a bit of a rivalry between our schools,” laughed Beaudry. “From football games and track and field meets, but it’s great to see the two schools putting that aside and coming together for this cause.”

Tillson came up with the idea for the run in the wake of losing his stepfather to suicide. The 16-year-old battled with depression following the death of his stepfather and he turned to running as a coping mechanism.

The goal for the two teens was to raise enough money through the event to bring CameronHelps to schools in the Sudbury area. CameronHelps is a youth suicide prevention group that helps kids who may be suffering in silence with depression or other mental health issues.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among youth, and as many as 75 per cent of suicides among young people are the result of depression.

The response from the community was one that neither Tillson or Beaudry expected, but was a tremendous surprise for both of them.

“We were expecting maybe 150 people today,” said Tillson. “We have almost 500 participants and more than 100 volunteers. It’s great to see, especially with the kids taking part, about 200 of the participants are youths which is awesome because this whole initiative is aimed at helping young people.

Article, courtesy of The Sudbury Star


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Sudbury high school student tries to end stigma surrounding mental health

A high school student in Sudbury, Ont. is working to set up a new program for young people who are struggling with mental health issues.

Josh Tillson lost his stepfather to suicide in February, 2016, after which, he said he didn’t get much help from counseling.


That’s led the Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School student to try to bring a program that combines mental and physical health to Sudbury’s youth.

“I went through a very dark period in my life where I had a lot of trouble dealing with my own emotions and through that time I found running,” he told CBC News.

“When I ran, I felt empowered and it was a really amazing feeling that helped me through that time in my life.

Tillson added that running really allowed him to express his emotions.

The Sudbury teen is not alone.  A Toronto-based charity called Cameron Helps offers youth suicide awareness and prevention programs; it also partners with community groups and schools to bring recreational youth running groups to communities.

It’s that type of program Tillson wants to see succeed in the northeast.

“Really I just want to help students like myself,” he said.

“I’m seeing the change, the difference it’s making in students in southern Ontario that are in this program in the school boards,” he continued. “It’s massive and I want to be able to bring that to a community like Sudbury that’s in desperate need for it.”

Tillson said he was surprised to learn how few mental health resources were available to him in Sudbury.

He is planning to host a run April 23 at Adanac Hill to raise money for the run program.

With files from Olivia Stefanovich.