By Rushanthi Kesunathan
A new free mental wellness group will start meetings this week on Danforth Avenue.
The peer-to-peer support group, Danforth Mental Wellness (DMW), will begin holding meetings starting on Thursday, Jan. 17 at 6 p.m. The expansion to East York (Danforth Mental Wellness) comes after demand for the service grows. The Danforth group is an extension of the Beaches Mental Wellness group, and will run in the same fashion.
“We are now having enough people attend the Tuesday night meetings of Beaches Mental Wellness that the need justifies additional space. It seemed like a good idea to host the new service where the demand is rather than forcing people to attend a distant location,” Jason Balgopal, founder and organizer of DMW said.
The one-hour meetings will be held at Neighbourhood Link Support Services, 3036 Danforth Ave., just west of Victoria Park Avenue. The Beaches group meets at Community Centre 55, 97 Main St., on Tuesdays from 7 to 8 p.m. Both the Danforth group and the Beaches group operate at no cost to members through the generosity of donated meeting spaces.
“Mental wellness issues are increasing faster than the health care system can cope with and people often do not have sufficient funds or private insurance in order to access the needed health care services,” Balgopal said.
“Thus, this free, peer-to-peer group offers a way for people to access services and like-minded people in a non-threatening venue,” he said.
Peer facilitators ensure the groups meet on a weekly basis. Those facilitators are members who have dealt with, and are still dealing with, their own mental wellness issues.
“This group provides a safe, supportive, non-judgmental environment for people to share their challenges, personal experience, knowledge of resources and, most importantly, their achievements and successes,” Julie Richard, a member, wrote in her Letters to the Editor in the Beach Metro News on Jan. 23, 2018.
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