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A fashionable way to break a stigma

Since he was a child, Tim Henneberry has suffered from ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). Later in life he began to battle with anxiety and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Henneberry is just one of more than 6.7-million Canadians that has to deal with some form of mental health condition in their lifetimes.

In business for himself since he was 17 years old – by building a seafood restaurant in Nova Scotia and being a singer songwriter in Nashville with Dolly Parton’s people – Henneberry decided he wanted to do something more to help those with mental health problems so no one should have to travel down a foggy path alone. From that decision he started Fog Off Clothing Co. almost six years ago, with an aim at catching the attention of others and initiating a conversation about mental health.

While the business is only a month old in St. Jacobs, the store originally started on the East Coast, where Henneberry is from, and has now migrated here to expand their brand and messaging.

“I’m not afraid to talk about it (mental health conditions) and we’re human beings: we all have fog of some form. I just wanted to start the brand because clothing is a vessel. Fog off is a play on words, but the fog of course represents the mental fog of stress, depression, anxiety, bullying, PTSD, bipolar, all of those – the list goes on and on. So, I just wanted to create awareness trying to help end the stigma attached to mental health by using the plain words to get the conversation started,” said Henneberry. “We are all human beings and we all have crap going on in our life at some point – or know someone who does have fog. We just need not to be afraid to talk about it or have a stigma attached to it. If someone wakes up with the flu, the first thing they would do is go on social media, Facebook, Instagram and say‘oh, I’m so sick with the flu, I had an awful night.’ But if someone wakes up with anxiety, they feel shame. You can’t go and talk about it, and you should be able to because anxiety is a lot more important, or depression or bipolar.”

Bringing awareness and chatter to the subject is not enough for Henneberry, though, as he wants to do more to help as many people as possible. Each month, Fog Off donates 10 per cent of their net sales to a local charity supporting people with their mental health struggles. So far, $67,500 has been donated to various organizations in the Atlantic provinces.

Each month on the 13th, that local donation is made. For his first month here in the Waterloo Region, Henneberry donated to the Lutherwood Child & Family Foundation.

For all the work they have done to better the community, Fog Off was nominated as one of the top 50 difference makers in mental health in 2018. Henneberry says he is more than happy to continue to do this work and not receive this type of recognition because he lives this life and it is his passion to help others.

Since moving to St. Jacobs, he said the business has been incredible. Henneberry says the people are amazing and he loves the small town feel which reminds him of home.

While he is always looking to the future, Henneberry is currently wrapping his head around what’s next for the business, but he hopes to continue doing the work he has been for a very long time.

Visit Fog Off in St. Jacobs at 1363 King St. N, or on their website.

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