Mental health week

Ken Kellar

Next week is going to be a busy one for the Fort Frances branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).

CMHA will be celebrating Mental Health Week from May 6-10, and the organization has a lot going on in Fort Frances.

“This is our 68th-annual Mental Health Week,” said CMHA staffer Christie Cousineau.

“Mental health week is just recognizing that everyone has mental health and we all need to take care of our mental health.”

Cousineau explained that the message for Mental Health Week this year is “Get Loud.”

“It’s about having a sense of purpose and strong relationships, feeling connected to the community and knowing who we are and coping with stress and enjoying life,” Cousineau said.

“It’s not about what you can do for yourself, by yourself. Everyone needs healthy and supportive places to work and live and learn.”

As part of the week-long celebrations, CMHA will be organizing several workshops and events throughout town, and is kicking it off with an official flag raising.

“We have the mayor is doing a proclamation for Mental Health Week,” Cousineau said.

“We will be at the Civic Centre on Monday at 1 p.m. to bring the flag and kick off Mental Health Week.”

After the flag-raising, CMHA will visit Rainycrest on Tuesday for a mental health boost, and will be holding a “Hearing Voices that are Distressing” workshop at NCDS on from 9:00 a.m. until noon on Wednesday.

“‘Hearing Voices that are Distressing’ is open to everyone in the community,” Cousineau explained.

“It’s understanding the challenges faced by people with psychiatric disabilities, so participants will experience what it’s like to hear voices and how difficult it can be to complete everyday tasks.”

On Thursday, CMHA will be at Fort Frances High School for their Mental Health Fair, as well as handing out information and bagging groceries at Safeway from 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

The final workshop of the week will be “Safe Talk” at the Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre on Friday.

“Safe Talk is a LivingWorks program that teaches members to recognize persons with thoughts of suicide and to connect them to suicide intervention resources,” Cousineau said.

The “Safe Talk” workshop will run two sessions on Friday–one from 9 a.m. to noon, the second from 1-4 p.m.

She noted that all of the workshops held by CMHA for Mental Health Week are open to the public and free to attend. Anyone interested in going to one of the workshops can call the Fort Frances branch of CMHA.

Cousineau said that mental health is important to everyone, whether they realize it or not.”Mental health is a state of well-being, and we all have it,” she explained.

“We might have a mental illness and we might not, either way we can all still feel well. We can all benefit from celebrating and promoting and acknowledging the roles mental health plays in living a full life.”