This week, the Canadian Mental Health Association is promoting its 63rd Mental Health Week (May 5-11, 2014), encouraging everyone to promote mental health by joining the conversation, increasing awareness and reducing stigma.
Across the city, community agencies are engaged with diverse communities in innovative ways, helping all of us to reap the benefits of health and wellness. They aren’t what we might traditionally think of as “mental health” services but they are supports that go a long way to ensuring we’re “fine”, not just “phine” (check out CMHA’s website to learn the difference). We wanted to share just a few examples of the wide range of supports making a real difference and we’d love to hear about programs in your neighbourhood.
Barbara Schlifer Commemorative Clinic: Arpillera Group
Arpillera, the craft of stitching and applying found fabrics was used by Chilean women in the 1980s. Learn how a new generation of refugee women is employing the practice to transform their lives at Barbara Schlifer Commemorative Clinic.
“Arpillera enables a dance between artistic expression and the process of memory, transforming participants’ relationship to trauma, so that it no longer has control over them.” – Lynne Jenkins, Director of Counselling
Chinese Family Services: Mandarin and Cantonese Family Counselling
Serving 4,800 annually, Chinese Family Services is an accredited family counselling service for Toronto’s Chinese community. Support in understanding stress and how to deal with it is offered to children, youth, seniors, individuals, couples and families, meeting the needs of both Mandarin and Cantonese speakers.
“We promote positive thinking and encourage our community members to develop other strategies too. To have a good life, you need to know how to manage your mental health.” – Patrick Au, Executive Director
SPRINT Senior Care: Health and Wellness Programs
Helping Toronto’s seniors remain safe, connected and as independent as possible, SPRINT Senior Care has provided a variety of services, including health and wellness programs, since 1983.
“Our gentle exercise classes promote physical wellbeing, socialization and community building amongst our seniors.” – Justine Wong, Supervisor of Health and Wellness
Sagatay, Na-Me-Res’ transitional service for Aboriginal men and youth supports residents as they develop essential skills and journey to self-sufficiency. Combining an Aboriginal belief system with Western philosophy, the program helps residents develop confidence and embark on new directions, securing training, employment and housing
“To be a healthy person, one must be in balance with all four aspects: mental, spiritual, physical and emotional health. If you are unhealthy in one of these areas, it will affect the others.” – Steve Teekens, Executive Director
Canadian Mental Health Association: Opening Doors
Looking for ideas and strategies to combat racial discrimination and mental health stigma? CMHA Toronto’s Opening Doors Project gives power to the disempowered, offering dynamic workshops to newcomer, mental health and service provider organizations.
“There is a need for conversation in newcomer communities about mental health. And there is a need for a better understanding and response to the challenges newcomers face in the broader community.” – Laura Guerrero, Project Coordinator