For many, the end of Daylight Savings Time is a very difficult time because of the shorter days which can result in a vitamin D deficiency which can lead to depression. Add to this the pressure and, for many, unfulfilled expectations created around the holidays - be they related to family or money or both.
At least 20% of adults in North America will be faced with a major mental health challenge in their lives. In reality, the numbers are likely to be much higher but because of stigma, many do not report or even address their challenges.
The holiday season is also a time where their friends and support system may be unavailable and can be a time where many contemplate suicide.
Sometimes all it takes to make somebody feel better is a hug. While it won't resolve the underlying problems, a hug has been shown to be good for both physical and mental health and people who recieve hugs often have been found more likely to report excellent mental health according to the Association for Canadian Studies.
2013-14 is the 5th year for HugTrain and this year we're spreading the love even further! We're not just travelling in the US, we're also going to be hugging in Canada! We're going to be traveling more than 10,000 km across North America giving free hugs to anybody that needs one letting people know that they are not invisible and that they matter. We also want to let people with mental health conditions that they are not alone.
HugTrain also helps to raise awareness for mental health to people who travel on the train with us as well as those we meet in the cities we stop in.
As well as giving out free hugs we're also raising money for our charity partners: The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and To Write Love on Her Arms. Every dollar we raise over and above our costs will be split equally between them.
We still need to cover travel costs for some of the legs:
Here is what we still need to cover:
A Canadian rail pass: $725
US rail travel: $600
Printing of t-shirts, signs etc: $250
Food + random acts of kindness: $1500
Intracity travel (public transport and taxis) $500
We also accept in-kind donations
Supporters will get as many hugs as they want and North American exposure for yourself and your business in association with this important cause! We're going to be contacting local media outlets in every city and are actively talking with national print, online and broadcast media.
Once we have reached our goal, we ask that you donate directly to our charity partners via the Donatepage on our website.
Can't support us financially? Here are other ways you can help
We realize that not everyone can make a financial contribution but there are plenty of other ways you can help.
- Come out to hug, be hugged and take pictures at our stops Check out the itinerary here.
- Help us find the things we would otherwise have to pay for (food, a couch or bed to sleep on, a ride or even some Amtrak or hotel program points)
- Tell your friends about HugTrain and this campaign.
Thank you to the many people and businesses that have given in-kind donations. As a result, we have already been able to eliminate many of our costs - we can't thank you enough if you've already helped HugTrainUSA make out vision a reality! Check out a list of supporters here.