Mental illness is an issue that affects all of us, directly or indirectly.  Directly, because an estimated 1 person in 5 will experience some form of mental illness by the time they reach 18.  In Ontario alone, that means almost 300,000 families directly affected by mental illness.   The indirect impact of mental illness on Canadians is staggering considering the cost of medical and social care, and the billions in lost productivity.

Perhaps the most perplexing aspect of mental illness is how we deal with it.  A person with mental illness is often stigmatized, even marginalized.  The result? Research shows that almost 33% of children and adolescents require some level of mental health intervention, but only one quarter of these actually seek services.

Mothers are often the first to notice a particular behaviour, or a change in behaviour in their children. If  significant, it can become a source of deep concern, worry and even fear. Fear that comes from not understanding what it means or what to do. But moms are also the ones most likely to reach out and seek help for their children – whether the child is 10 or 20 years old.

This Mother’s Day, Bows for Butterflies is staging a very special benefit concert with the Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra to say thanks to all Ottawa moms, and to raise money in support of youth and family support programs at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre.

The Bows for Butterflies Benefit, hosted by MAJIC 100‘s Katherine Dines, is taking place on Sunday May 8th, 2016 at St. Brigid’s Centre for the Arts, 310 St. Patrick Street, Ottawa, Ontario. Information Fair and silent auction starts 2:00 PM and the concert begins at 2:30 PM. Adult tickets $25/Students $15.  Available in advance through this website, from BBB volunteers or at the door.

Bell Let’s Talk and the University of Ottawa are supporting this year’s event.

History of the Bows for Butterflies Benefit

Founded in 2009, Bows for Butterflies is an Ottawa-grown, volunteer-driven initiative that brings local musicians, friends, families, and the broader community, together in a comforting atmosphere of inspirational stories and uplifting music, all with the aim of sharing experiences and raising awareness and funds for youth and family support programs at The Royal Ottawa Hospital.

There have been four Bows for Butterflies Benefits in the past:

  • 2009 – at the Brookstreet Hotel with Stellae Borealis String Ensemble and host, The  Honourable James Bartleman.
  • 2010 – Canterbury High School featuring Canterbury Arts students (music, dance, written word) with CBC’s Adrian Harewood as host.
  • 2011 – Centrepoint Theatre with the Ottawa Youth Orchestra and Conductor John GomezMargaret Trudeau was the evening’s host.
  • 2013 – St. Brigid’s Centre for the Arts with the University of Ottawa Orchestra. The Honourable Senator Vernon White emceed the evening.

To date, Bows for Butterflies has raised more than $ 40,000 to  support youth and family programs at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre in Ottawa, Canada.

About the name Bows For Butterflies

The butterfly is a metaphor for emergence: a butterfly emerges from its pupae stage – dark, misunderstood, hidden –  to the iridescent, colourful butterfly which is free to complete its destiny.  For someone with mental illness, having their condition diagnosed and the appropriate treatment in place means an opportunity for normalization – an emergence of sorts – and fulfillment of their destiny.

The butterfly is a symbol of The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Center.

To learn more about mental health: