Victoria benefit dance aims to break stigma of mental illness

Bay Street Armoury to host dinner/dance event Saturday

Having a mental illness doesn’t make a person weak.

A group of friends organizing a fundraiser dance in memory of Samuel Whitehead want people to know that it’s OK to admit to having a mental illness, and that it’s OK to ask for help.

Sam’s Groove, an event to raise awareness and funds for mental health, is being held at the Bay Street Armoury tomorrow (June 23).

It’s about moving forward and helping people who need it, said Troy Sauer, one of the event organizers.

“Part of it is keeping Sam’s memory alive and doing something like this in honour of him,” he said. “A bigger part, for me personally, is raising awareness for mental health issues.

“We are standing as one voice to say that mental illness is a disease like any other and the social stigma of it as a weakness needs to be eliminated.”

For people with mental illness, it seems that help is not always available, Sauer said. He hopes the event raises awareness that help is out there.

“It’s almost scary (for people with a mental illness) to ask for help, and people don’t. It seems like the only way people know about (mental health issues), or want to do anything about it, is if something tragic happens.”

Proceeds from the event go towards patient care programs and equipment for the Archie Courtnall Centre for Mental Health.

The ticket price of $15 includes a gourmet dinner by chef Kendall Boggs and live music by local bands Step Back Dave, Sweet Leaf, and Tuff Jelly. There will also be a 50-50 raffle and silent auction. The event is semi-formal and open to people age 19-plus.

People may also donate to the cause by visiting Search for Victoria Hospitals Foundation, specify the area of need as mental health, and indicate Sam’s Groove Benefit in the message area.

The fundraiser runs from 7 to 11 p.m. in the officers’ mess at the armoury, 715 Bay St. Tickets may be purchased at Sitka Surf and Skate Shop, 570 Yates St. and at the door if available. For more information, email

Just Posted

No charges for three West Shore RCMP officers after woman’s jaw broken while in custody

After IIO investigation, B.C. Prosecution Service determined case did not meet its charge standard

Giants draw first blood in WHL playoff series vs. Victoria

Home ice advantage non-existent for Royals against arch-rival Vancouver

All-female taxi service eyed for the West Shore

The goal is to help women feel comfortable

Elizabeth May arrested at Kinder Morgan protest

Randall Garrison, MP for Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke, speaks out against pipeline

New Galloping Goose overpass at McKenzie could open next week

Drivers reminded to watch the road in McKenzie construction zone

Vancouver Island’s Best Videos of the Week

A look at some of the best video stories from the past week ending March 23, 2018

Canucks sing the Blues as they fall to St. Louis 4-1

Berglund nets two, including the game-winner, to lift St. Louis over Vancouver

Calving season brings hope for Cariboo ranchers

Still a lot of work ahead to recover from the wildfires

Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond wins figure skating world title

The 22-year-old fwon the women’s singles crown with her Black Swan routine

Vancouver Island pooches celebrate National Puppy Day

Check out some of the submissions we received from around the region

MLA Report: Lowering the voting age to 16 in BC

By Andrew Weaver On March 13, I introduced for a third time… Continue reading

Alberta tells B.C. to stop opposing pipelines if it doesn’t like gas prices

John Horgan said he would like to see the federal government step in to deal with high gas prices.

Comox Valley hospital operating above patient capacity

The new healthcare facility averaged a 110 per cent patient volume between October and February

B.C. mother hit in truck rampage dies

Family confirms mother of four Kelly Sandoval dies almost two months after being hit.

Most Read