The Windsor-Essex County Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association officially launched the Sole Focus Project on Wednesday.

The campaign seeks to raise $500,000 over the next three years in support of mental health awareness, education and training, identified as a strategic priority in their Vision 2020 strategic plan.

The CMHA says with 1 in 5 Canadians personally affected by a mental illness or addictions issue during their lifetime, it has never been more important to take a stand for mental health.

Increased demand for services, coupled with limited health care dollars spurred the need for sustainable funding in an area that the community sees CMHA-WECB as a lead provider and advocate.

“CMHA-WECB’s sole focus is a mentally healthy community,” says Claudia den Boer, CEO of CMHA-WECB. “This means a reduced burden on the healthcare system as fewer people visit the emergency room and with less frequency, more people knowing how to identify the signs and symptoms of a mental health issue and where to seek help.

The Sole Focus Project seeks to create a legacy fund to further enhance and distribute mental wellness education, awareness and training in our community.

The campaign has been in a teaser phase for several weeks, with campaign ambassadors hidden behind one of the campaigns symbols, painted shoe soles.

They were unveiled at the launch and included notable community leaders such as CTV’s Arms Bumanlag, Noelle Montcalm, Ken Lewenza and the Windsor Spitfires team.

The community is encouraged to visit to learn ways to get involved in the campaign.