Montrealers grabbed their sneakers and took to the city streets in hopes of walking towards a future where mental illnesses will no longer be associated with negative stigma.

The fifth edition of Montreal Walks for mental health was held on the morning of Sunday, Oct. 20, kicking off in Phillips Square around 11 am.

The walk is organized annually with the aim to raise public awareness surrounding mental health issues, and seeks to eliminate the negative perceptions too-often coupled with them.

Actress Veronique Bannon and Montreal Alouettes’ linebacker Shea Emry spoke to the ready-to-walk crowd, and opened up about their personal experiences dealing with mental illness.

The event’s organizers say that one in five Canadians will be affected by mental illness in their lifetime.

The 5 km walk is free for all participants, but donations are certainly welcome.

This year, all funds raised by the event are set to be divvied up in support of four projects from various organizations.

Among the 2013 beneficiaries are a Friends for Mental Health program on bipolar disorder, a pairing program put on by Parrainage civique de l’est de l’Ile de Montreal, and a health and hope program, organized by the House of Nazareth.

Tune in for our coverage at six!