COVID-19: Calgary teen’s ‘superb’ charity occasion helps youth psychological well being – Calgary

Many young Calgarians are suffering from mental health problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and now they are getting help from a 15 year old girl who is energetic as she sets out to make a difference.

Xara Sylvestre capitalizes on her love of golf by organizing a long-drive charity event to raise money to support mental illness treatment.

Sylvestre said she had seen many young Calgarians struggle with COVID-19 restrictions, schools closed and so much activity stopped in recent months.

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“I think the cancellation of these events and the fact that we don’t see humans and that we are isolated has really, really affected teenagers’ mental health,” she said.

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“Personally, I struggled (with) anxiety and depression – undiagnosed – during the pandemic because I was too scared to ask for help.”

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Sylvestre is now trying to help others by organizing the Longest Drive for Mental Health fundraising competition at the Golf Center in Harvest Hills, northeast Calgary.

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The event will raise funds for Alberta Health Services’ new child and adolescent mental health center, currently under construction in northwest Calgary.

The facility will treat people like Carrie Newman’s 13-year-old son.

“He’s struggled with fear most of his life, sometimes not wanting to leave the house for months,” Newman said, adding that she is grateful for Sylvestre’s fundraiser. “Doing it at 15 is pretty amazing.”

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Sylvestre’s father said her family was very proud of her.

“She’s just passionate about helping people, and I think that passion really helps her make such a great event,” said Sean Sylvestre.

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The Longest Drive for Mental Health competition will take place on Saturday, July 24th, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. More information can be found here.

“We’re super, super excited to see how much money we can raise,” said Xara Sylvestre, “and really to end the mental health stigma.”

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