DUCKY BRAND APPAREL: SPREADING AWARENESS FOR MENTAL HEALTH IN THE BOQ & BEYOND
This year, more than years past, the BOQ and the communities within it have seen a major focus on addressing mental health. The call to action has been voiced by all levels of government as well as mental health agencies, school groups and support agencies that work under those umbrellas.
Mental health is now getting the traction it deserves. However, the general consensus at times, is that more needs to be done to inform, educate and remove the social stigma behind the debilitating and, at times, deadly diseases.
At some point or another, we have all been affected by mental health issues or know someone we love who has. Those who manage their disease and move forward from critical mass, must have a few things in their lives that can help them. Not just help, but stop the disease from destroying personal relationships, self-worth and/or the overall ability to function as the person they once knew. Those strategies would include access to cognitive therapy, prescription medication and finally a personal support system of loved ones.
As the founder of Ducky Brand Apparel, Aidan Girduckis knows all about what it takes to survive while dealing with mental health. He too has struggled with his own mental health as a young man and as many of us have. He sees himself very lucky to have the support of loved ones no only helped him recognize the true nature of his symptoms, but also assisted him in finding the resources and support he would need to manage his now diagnosed illness.
After all was said and done and Aiden began feeling more like himself, he had time look at everything that was put in place for him to manage and educate himself about the process. He felt very fortunate to have had the support and access to professionals that helped him on his journey. It was at this time he felt another new sense of understanding that the services we have access to, were not all covered by OHIP and the bulk was covered only by private insurance or out of pocket. To him, that was unacceptable. He knew even with all the resources he had, it was an extremely difficult process and that if there were people that did not have access to the same resources as he did, he couldn’t imagine what the outcomes of their lives may be.
That begin his journey to what we know now as the Ducky Brand Apparel.
Blog BOQ had the pleasure to sit down with Ducky Brand Apparel's (DBA's), Justin Impey to give us the low down on what the company's goals are.
According to Justin, the company is trying to help local organizations and agencies alleviate the heavy caseload of people trying to access services and to fight for resources to help with these mental health diseases. He shared that 30% of the annual proceeds from the sale of their apparel are donated to local agencies such as the Canadian Mental Health Association - Hastings and Prince Edward.
When asked what the inspiration behind the company name, "Ducky" was, he told us that it was an adaptation from a childhood nickname combined with the narrative from a classic children’s hockey movie that inspired both the name and the logo. It also has meaning and a message:
“ The name and logo are meant to be a symbol of support for anyone who has suffered or currently does suffer from mental health issues, and their battle with it. ”
Many of the products, which include everything from hats to tees can be found and purchased online. They also have found great local support with retailers stocking their line on consignment, which is why the logo may look familiar to some of you who haven't come across the brand before. It is very likely you spotted their clothing in stores like Dewe’s Independent in Belleville or John Burke’s Metro grocery store Belleville. Or maybe you have seen the BOQ’s very own Stanley Cup winner, Andrew Shaw, dawning the gear on your social media pages as he is the company’s official ambassador. DBA has been working with the area’s best and brightest to really get the message out regarding the company’s mission and to help those who are already struggling get the help they cannot afford.
When we asked what is next for DBA, Justin stated that getting the message out there is a true labor of love. There are things in the works for next year to grow the message and increase the reach, so that the company cannot only bring awareness to the issues of mental health, but also help the community they love. A lot of the current partners are working on this projet part-time or volunteering because they truly believe in the mission.
We at Blog BOQ are huge advocates for mental health awareness. As like many others, it has affected our lives as well. We encourage you to check out the Ducky Brand Apparel’s website at: https://duckybrandapparel.com/ and purchase one of their products to support the cause.