Jason Finucan pulls no punches. In his recently published book about his own battles with mental illness, entitled Jason: 1 | Stigma: 0, he shares his alarmingly candid personal experiences with an engaging storytelling style. Offering insight on how we perceive illness in our society today, the important role of empathy, and what we can all do to effect change, Jason’s goal is for everyone to understand this important topic so they are empowered to make a real change and ultimately join his vision for a future without stigma. “Mental illness can be treated, but stigma can be cured,” Jason says.
I met Jason a number of years ago when he was handling media relations for a Montreal private school. He would eventually move on to become a full-time mental health advocate via his company called Stigma Zero. The book was a natural way for him to let it all out there. And he does a masterful job. Not only does Jason tell his story, but he educates readers on the plight of so many others. Part memoir and part how-to, this engrossing book is the culmination of a lifetime of unique personal experiences with illness by Jason.
On Saturday Nov. 2, Jason is organizing an event at Laval’s Trapeze Le Voltigeur called Flying Free, hosted by former Breakfast Television personalities Derick Fage and Tina Tenneriello.
Flying Free will be a powerful and moving aerial arts show. Jason notes that the artists will depict the varied struggles that can impact someone’s mental health — from postpartum depression, substance abuse, PTSD, grief and loss, a genetic predisposition to mental illness, and more. The music and aerial acts will evoke the emotions, relationships and challenges that are present in those with mental health struggles, culminating in an exciting flying trapeze act that celebrates recovery.
This fundraising event will support the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). “Given the increased prevalence of mental illness and other mental health challenges, there is a need to raise both awareness and capital in order to provide additional mental health services and support,” says Finucan.
Located at 875 Mtee St-François, Trapeze le Voltigeur is owned by Patrick Malley. He is pleased to be supporting the cause of mental illness. ”Everyone knows someone suffering from mental illness, so that’s a good reason to present this show,” he said.