HOW TO LEAD A CPMHC AWARENESS WALK OR EVENT:
Please note – You can make your walk or event as big or small as you want to. Grab some friends and go for a stroll in the park! Get some moms together and host an afternoon play date! If you’d like to go all out and plan a large walk or event, here are some great tips to have in mind:
1. Start now – The earlier you work on the details of the walk or event, the better it will turn out. Post on social media that you’re planning a walk/event. You’d be surprised how many people will want to help out!
2. Be sure to tell us about it! – Let us know you’re planning a walk/event so we can help you! Email us at email@example.com letting us know what city you’ll be planning the walk/event in and be sure to join our CPMHC Awareness Walk Info Group Facebook Page. We want to help you every step of the way!
3. When to have it – Choose which day and time you’d like to have the walk/event. Ideally it would be the first Wednesday of May but if you’d rather do it on another day that week or on the weekend, that’s fine too. Just make sure there aren’t other walks or events happening along your route that day. Best time to have the walk we’ve found is 10am-Noon but if you want to do it at another time, that’s great too!
4. Location – Choose a location/route you think would be best suited to accommodate the walk/event. Perhaps a path in a park or along the waterfront if you have one.
5. Length – Make sure the walk isn’t too long. A couple kilometres is best. You’ll likely have lots of moms and strollers so you don’t want to make them walk too far.
6. A place to mingle – Have a destination in mind, a place where everyone can congregate at the end of the walk for speeches and refreshments.
7. Permits – Call the city or town and ask if you require a special events permit and liability insurance. If so, there may be a few involved. Reach out to community agencies to partner with you for the walk and cover the fee. For example, in Ontario we have CAP-C, EarlyON Child and Family Centres and health units (plus many more) that partner to provide snacks, a space to convene (in case it rains) and set up information booths for walk participants filled with information and supports.
8. Proclamation – Ask city council if they are willing to proclaim World Maternal Mental Health Day/Week in your city. If so, you will receive an official proclamation document that will similar to this Barrie Proclamation or this Midland Proclamation. Make sure to share it with us so we can share it on our social media pages and with media!
9. Speeches – Ask the mayor, deputy mayor, city councillors, provincial and federal politicians to join/attend the walk/event and address participants afterwards. Tell your story! Ask a mom or dad to share their story. You can do this before or after the walk. We find that asking a local yoga or fitness instructor to do a warm up before the walk and then doing speeches at the end of the walk works well. We also have an indigenous land acknowledgment either before or after the walk.
10. Donations and prizes – Not required but it’s nice to offer participants incentives and perhaps your community is generous enough to donate some of their services moms and dads can enjoy. We typically draw for the prizes after the walk.
11. Food and healthy snacks – Pre and/or post walk which could be provided by donations or community partners.
12. Information booths – These can be set up by community partners that service women and families, for example, child care centres that provide subsidies, the health unit, CAP-C, indigenous agencies, or any related businesses that want to be present.
13. PUBLICITY! – So important! It didn’t happen if it wasn’t on Facebook, right? Seriously though, we need to show our elected officials that there are a lot of us that care about perinatal mental health. We need to make NOISE! Use our Social Media Tool Kit to help you get the word out leading up to the walk and on the day of the walk.
14. Rain date – Make sure to have a back-up indoor location ready or an alternate date in case it rains and make sure to give participants adequate notice (a few hours before is good).