A smashing success: Advocates gather in Kamloops for scale smash challenge

It wasn't so much a kick-off as it was a swing-off Sunday (Jan. 27) at The Wreck Room as the Days of Action Scale Smash Campaign started.

The campaign to raise awareness about eating disorders and mental health is simple and familiar, says organizer Marlene Hibbs. Record a video, challenge three friends to follow suit, smash a scale (similar to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge).

"It's a representation of a renovation for mental health. Breaking apart old methods, recycle what's working and moving on," she says. "Mental health is an issue worldwide, the UN speaks about it, everyone's talking about it, so we're going to change it now."

To get things started, Hibbs and around 60 others gathered at The Wreck Room to record the first few videos and smash the first few scales. Hibbs smashed her scale a few weeks ago, so the first swing went to mental health advocate and worker Christina Camilleri.



"Being the first is kinda hard, because you're not prepared, you don't have the chance to observe other people, so I was just raw," she says. "What it represents to me is an opportunity to make an impact in the field of disorder eating and mental health. It's also an opportunity to let people know just the need and how big the need is out there."

Camilleri was among four women to kick off the event, along with mental health and eating disorder workers Carla Mantie and Carla St. Germain, and Wreck Room owner Christie Fettes, whose family has been affected by the issue.

While she hopes the campaign spreads globally, Hibbs says there are local ways to get involved. One is to smash a scale. The Wreck Room will let you do it for free until the end of February (as long as you bring your own scale). Fettes says you'll be allowed to smash it in their venue so long as you upload the video challenge before you leave. If you book a regular trip to The Wreck Room at the same time, a portion of proceeds will be donated toward local eating disorder health care.

Hibbs says she's planning on helping organize an evening support group for people with eating disorders.

"We want to see more group support in the evenings so people can get into the system," she says. "Right now, if you're working in the day or you've got kids, it's hard to get help."

She's also guiding people to donate to the Royal Inland Hospital Foundation, specifically in the "Mental Health" category for eating disorders, and Camilleri's Healthy Essentials Clinic in Lake Country, which will open this June as a hub for mental health care, including eating disorders.

"I have been the coordinator of the North Okanagan Eating Disorder program when it was affiliated with the Canadian Mental Health Association. When that program closed in October 2013, I've worked in private practice," she says. "I decided to take all of my network...bringing it all together in Health Essentials Clinic in Lake Country."

Hibbs says the goal, for now, is to get the word out about the campaign and get it growing.

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