Mr. Speaker, the Park Bench Players from Antigonish, Nova Scotia, are an award-winning theatre troupe that have received national recognition for their incredible efforts to reduce the stigma around individuals living with mental illness. They are educating the community and our country about the distinction between mental illness, mental wellness and mental health.
Every cast member lives with chronic mental illness, and their best-known play With a Little Help from my Friend is based on their own lived experiences. The production is funny, heartwarming and eye-opening. One cast member, who lives with schizophrenia, described the impact of taking part in the production on his life when he told me that he no longer feels invisible in his own community and that makes him feel good.
Their extraordinary effort demonstrates that many people living with mental illness can live full and joyful lives while they contribute to their communities and engage in dialogues of national importance.
In January, the Town of Antigonish announced it will be installing a new bench on Main Street with a plaque dedicated to the Park Bench Players. I thank every member of the cast, from the bottom of my heart, for sharing their stories of hope, courage and resilience. Together, we can erase the stigma.