The Second Opinion Society (SOS) is holding its annual barbecue on Thursday, July 28th, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and all are welcome.

SOS is located at 304 Hawkins St. adjacent to the Yukon Conservation Society offices. There will be hotdogs and burgers, as well as vegan and vegetarian options, thanks to generous donations from local businesses.

There will be crayons on hand for children, in addition to door prizes and music. Several musicians will offer their services at this year’s event, including myself–I am a blues and Celtic singer-songwriter–and Jenna Marie, an excellent blues harp player / singer who also plays keyboards.

There will be a silent auction to raise needed funds for the SOS programming. Items donated by local businesses include a reclining chair from The Brick and speakers for a smartphone, thanks to Erik’s Audio Video Unlimited.  

SOS was conceived in 1989 and formed in 1991 by a group of former patients of the psychiatric system who were unhappy with the top-down, doctor-directed, medical model. People wanted to take back their own health and well-being and sought out peer support, a place to connect with others, and a designated safe place to hang out.

A needs assessment was conducted with the result that peer support and a comfortable, safe place to meet were the priorities at that time — not additional professional services.

Work on public perception of mental illness was (and remains) a top priority, and to that end letting the media help spread good impressions of what SOS offers. This is what the current board, elected at the annual general meeting on June 30, wishes to emphasise—to greatly increase the awareness in the Yukon of mental health support and the role of SOS in assisting those needing community support.

Yukon Health & Social Services has provided core funding since the centre’s inception.     

SOS was, and remains, a positive step toward promoting a holistic approach to mental health. The SOS mission is to be a self-help group offering community connection and support for people facing emotional distress or crisis. It is a drop-in centre where people support one another and work together to create positive change in themselves, in the mental health system, and in their communities.

It’s committed to promoting holistic mental health alternatives, empowering self-determination and working toward social change.

Each of us in our lives experiences emotional or mental difficulties of some degree or other, be they financial, relationship-derived, sadness or sorrow, grief from loss, or from anywhere else on the human experience palette.  Not to casually compare such regular life trauma with clinical issues, but empathy and support at a public barbecue at which food and music will be shared would be fun and appreciated.  Stories in popular culture abound about mental illness–Nick Drake, Amy Winehouse (“No, no, no!”) … back to many important artists, musicians, and writers of the past.  Van Gogh.  Virginia Woolf.  It’s important and vital that those with mental issues are supported by the community.

Come out and support SOS and let’s make it a fun party.

Questions? Call 667-2037 or e-mail staff at info@Second-Opinion.ca. The society also has a Facebook page; look for “Second Opinion Society” and “like” us to join in discussions (our Facebook page has an image of an iconic Jim Robb crooked cabin).