Free mental health sessions starting September 11

Every Tuesday evening for nearly four years now, people have been gathering at Community Centre 55 because they, or a loved one, face a mental wellness challenge.

There is the depressive who has worn out his family support because he is constantly morose and continually seeks ways to become happy—ways his family doesn’t know how to provide. There is the hoarder who is at risk of losing her family because her home is so filled with items that there is no room for people. There are others dealing with anxiety or bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

The Beaches Mental Wellness Peer-to-Peer Support Group offers a free and confidential place for people to do what they can’t do by themselves: share their stories with like-minded people, receive supportive feedback from those who have travelled in their shoes, and lose the sense of loneliness that so often is a part of dealing with a mental wellness challenge.

The group has been a fantastic success; members have not only said the group helps them, but they have written letters-to-the-editor in this paper extolling how much it has helped them.

However, there is more to be done. One of the themes often discussed at the Beaches Mental Wellness meetings is the lack of affordable, accessible and convenient professional counselling services. In addition to the mental health issues they face, when people seek support they are often bedevilled by a Byzantine bureaucracy which offers expensive therapy months down the road.

Consequently, Beaches Mental Wellness, with the generous financial support of Community Centre 55, will commence to offer professional mental health assistance with a registered social worker in two forms starting in September 2018.

A group mindfulness session will commence on Tuesday, September 11 and run every two weeks thereafter.

Mindfulness is a practice which has been proven to help reduce depression and anxiety. Each session will run from 5:15 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. each alternate Tuesday.

It is a free session, open to anyone, with no need to register—just show up with an open mind at Community Centre 55. All are welcome to stay for the customary Beaches Mental Wellness group which will meet immediately thereafter at 7:00 p.m.

Private, one-on-one professional counselling sessions will commence on Sunday, September 9 and run every two weeks thereafter. The sessions will be for 45 minutes each, and will be scheduled between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. These sessions will be available to those who have consistently attended the Beaches Mental Wellness Peer-to-Peer Support Group, require further support, and sign up in the group.

Please feel free to come out and access these services as we work to address mental wellness issues in our community.

Our strength is in making ourselves healthier in all ways, and removing the stigma of mental illness. You are not alone—together we can transform mental illness into mental wellness.

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