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It was 'magical': Journey to Hope holds open mic night to promote suicide awareness

Journey to Hope's third annual open mic night held at The Hive coffee shop this February helped individuals facing mental health struggles find hope, meaning, and support

With the goal of promoting suicide awareness and helping individuals regain a shared sense of community, purpose, and inclusion, Journey to Hope’s third annual open mic night proved successful.

“We called the event magical after it was over – we were so moved by the presentations by youth and adults alike,” said Della Ferguson, the chairperson for Journey to Hope and liaison to the organization’s youth chapter.

The Feb. 15 event took place at The Hive coffee shop and drew an audience ranging from teens to older adults and everyone in between. Still, everyone shared something in common – they were all willing to listen to others and share their own journey as they navigated through mental health struggles.

“Having (the event) at The Hive, in that beautiful space and (having) that opportunity to sit with a delicious cup of coffee… it just created such a welcoming aura, and their staff were just wonderful in allowing us to have that special evening there… and welcoming us in,” she said.

Ferguson said coffee shops create an aura of relaxation, and the “vibe of artistic flair” communicated through song, poetry, and the spoken word made the venue a safe and welcoming place.

Journey to Hope seeks to spread suicide awareness and offers resources to help prevent suicides. This includes a healthy promotion of life and wellness for each individual reached by the organization.

“When we speak of those (goals), we realize the value of people sharing their story, of sharing their feelings or their experiences through (the) spoken word,” she said.

“That expression can offer not only hope and healing… for the person who is sharing it, but actually for those who are listening (as well), because they just might identify with it, (and) they might just hear some words that resonate deeply and inspire (them along) their own journey.”

To help promote this expression, Journey to Hope’s teacher leads offer “such profound supports for these students” as they express themselves, Ferguson said.

By experiencing self-promotion with a supportive group such as this, individuals can feel empowered, and the act also builds confidence.

“All of a sudden, (these individuals) are in the presence of others who say, ‘I see you, (and) I hear you.’ That is such a basic need for us…”

Ferguson noted that many of these important topics are not brought up in day-to-day conversation, and most people don’t experience a regular means to share their deepest feelings or concerns.

“Maybe you just don’t have a (regular) conversation where hope, healing, and honouring are the feature themes…,” she noted. This event aims to provide a platform to host these deeper conversations that need to be had.

The open mic event saw a variety of communicative media that involved speech, poetry, and song. This varied media, Ferguson noted, helps reach a wider audience and may just be the best way to reach someone in need.

“One of the kids shared numerous poems about her journey to the group. As each poem changed to another poem, there was a progression of hope in it… her word expression was so powerful (that) it just stopped us in our tracks…

“That happened over and over that evening – it was really something else.

“The courage that it takes for people to get up and speak (the) truth that’s in their heart was exemplary – it was such a courageous sharing. By them sharing that, I feel it’s like putting it out into the light,” Ferguson said.

Journey to Hope’s open mic night is part of an ongoing yearly program. If you are interested in attending the next event, you can contact the organization or follow its Facebook page, ‘Journey to Hope Moose Jaw Inc’ for upcoming announcements.

To contact Journey to Hope or for more information, the organization can be reached by email at

Ferguson shared a heartfelt quote where local resident Dale Dalton said reflectively, “The only thing I failed at, is having a failure for hope.”

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