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Dunnville sessions start discussion on mental health

CALEDONIA, APRIL 15, 2011 – Are you feeling overwhelmed by the stresses of your job or family? Join the club. Does a loved one suffer from dementia? I know the feeling. Have you, or someone you care about, contemplated or attempted suicide? You’re not alone.


Mental health issues affect everyone sooner or later. One in five Canadians will experience a mental illness directly at some point in their life, and those who do not have a mental illness themselves will have a friend, colleague, or family member who is dealing with a mental illness or mental health challenge.

“We need to remove the stigma attached to mental health issues,” said Marilyn Antkiw, Public Health Nurse at the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit. “These issues are widespread in our community yet an embarrassment or taboo exists with respect to speaking about the subject of mental health. They are no different than other health issues.”

Achieving good mental health means that a person has found a balance in the various aspects of their life, including the physical, social, spiritual, economic and mental components. While the balance may tip one way or the other at certain points in life, good mental health allows a person to be productive, to have fulfilling relationships with other people, and to adapt to change and cope with difficult times that arise. Good mental health is achievable for everyone including those living with a mental illness.

The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit has partnered with the Outreach Committee of Dunnville’s Grace United Church and the True Experience, Supportive Housing and Community Work Program and Community Addiction & Mental Health Services of Haldimand & Norfolk to deliver a series of sessions which will explore various mental health and mental illness issues that affect our community.

“In spite of the fact that almost every Canadian knows someone who has been, or will be, affected by mental illness, few people know very much about it,” noted Antkiw. “We are hoping this series will begin to change that, and start the discussions.”

The free awareness sessions are an opportunity for community members to connect, discuss and learn more about mental health topics including stress, dementia, suicide and the stigma attached to mental health issues. Local experts on various mental health issues will give brief presentations and facilitate the discussions that follow.

Sessions will be held every Wednesday in May, as well as June 1st, from 10 a.m. until noon at the Grace United Church, located at 301 Broad St. E. in Dunnville. Light refreshments will be provided.

The topics and dates for the sessions are:

May 4 – What is Mental Health?
May 11 – Stress Management
May 18 – Reducing the Stigma of Mental Illness
May 25 – Suicide Awareness and Prevention
June 1 – The Rising Tide of Dementia

For more information about the sessions, contact Bernd Beilschmidt at 905-774-6165 or Marilyn Antkiw at[email protected].

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Media contact:
Marilyn Antkiw
Public Health Nurse
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
Ext. 3252 at either 905-318-6623 or 519-426-6170
[email protected]