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Nearly 250 business, political and community leaders heard about the importance of mental health in community from keynote speaker, Senator Stan Kutcher at The Salvation Army’s annual Hope in the City Leadership Breakfast this morning.

Senator Stan Kutcher is a leader in mental health research, education, advocacy, policy and services, and an internationally renowned psychiatrist in adolescent mental health. This morning, Senator Kutcher emphasized how vital compassion, commitment and community are for those living with mental illness. He described the difference between toxic and healthy stress indicating that “It’s only through our experience of discomfort that we are pushed to improve the lives of others.” He added, “Compassion is a key element of mental health; commitment is what enables us to mobilize compassion, it requires giving of time, energy or resources; and community must have ties that bind connections, which are ideally driven by compassion and commitment.”

Those who attended this annual awareness and fundraising event also enjoyed networking, entertainment, and hearing about how The Salvation Army’s programs and services are giving hope for today across our communities to individuals and families who need it most. Many were inspired by the intimate and difficult story of abuse and addiction shared by Rocky Syliboy via video – a participant in the Centre of Hope’s Anchorage Recovery program. Rocky also attended the event.

Rocky said, “My addiction was so bad that it cost me my friends and my family; everybody that tried to help me, I would push them away.” He adds, “I like how The Salvation Army says it offers hope because it gives me hope; The Salvation Army really did change my life.”

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