Get To Know the #GetInTouchForHutch Organization
Suicide accounts for 24 percent of all deaths among 15-24 year olds. In February of 2013, this statistic became a reality for the family and friends of Steven Hutchison after he took his life while in his dorm room at University.
Steven’s passing came as a shock to all who knew him. Steven was not diagnosed with a Mental Illness and sadly, no one, not even those closest to him, had any idea how much he was struggling… in silence.
Through the experience of our devastating loss, we knew that we had to find a way to stop this from happening to others. As a result, an initiative was planned to encourage those who may be struggling to find their voice again. For them to realize that there are others who are experiencing what they are going through, and that there will always be someone there to reach out to for support. You are Never Alone!
Since Steven’s passing, #GetInTouchForHutch has connected with many youth to educate and provide training, tools and resources relating to Suicide Awareness and Mental Health. Funds raised have exceeded $225,000. This allows for the ability to continue assisting young people in building the skills and abilities that they need to improve their emotional health and well-being.
We continue to be extremely grateful for the incredible amount of support that we have received from both a personal and financial perspective.
While we feel the winds of change starting to blow and the walls of stigma beginning to soften, we look forward to a time when conversations relating to mental health are no longer held in silence but rather a part of our regular, everyday conversations. This is our mission.
Stigma is discriminatory. It generates feelings of judgment, is an insult to one’s character and is most often the reason why people do not reach out for the help that they need. Since Steven’s passing, #GetInTouchForHutch has been working diligently to break down the walls of Stigma that are so heavily attached to Mental Illness.
Our goal in honouring Steven’s memory is that we want to raise awareness about Mental Health issues so that people don’t feel stigmatized. We have to start a conversation about Mental Illness and keep it going. That is the only way that we are going to change this – and it’s going to take all of us together to make that happen.
Two days after we learned of Steven’s passing, the annual Bell Let’s Talk Day event occurred. This year it was Clara Hughes (Olympian) who was publically leading the charge to get people talking through Social Media Channels – encouraging us to find a way to end the stigma that is attached to Mental Illness.
Seeing through our pain and the shock of our loss, our family, friends, and communities came together to make a difference.
Over 96 Million texts, tweets and Facebook shares were sent that day generating a contribution of over $4.8 Million in donations from Bell going towards Mental Health programs. A record setting occurrence in the History of Bell Lets Talk Day!
At some point during the day, we noticed a tweet that said #GetInTouchForHutch. It was a tagline that would catch on and we would continue to see it a number of times throughout the remainder of that day.
A few short words that can mean so much!
When it was time to think of what we wanted to call our event, we didn’t hesitate in our decision to call it the #GetInTouchForHutch Race.
Although Steven couldn’t find the strength to reach out for help before it was too late, we know that he would want the rest of us to make sure we do that moving forward – for ourselves, for each other and for anyone else that we know (or may not know) that is struggling.