Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Vernon and District held the second of its semi-annual town hall events Oct. 30 at the CMHA conference centre.
The meetings are held twice a year as an opportunity for staff and program participants to discuss new programs or changes to services, to acknowledge the positive aspects of the programs, and to give and receive suggestions for improvement.
During the session, participants requested more opportunities for recreation activities.
“Recreation is such an important part of what we do,” said CMHA Vernon executive director Julia Payson. “The connection between physical and mental health is vital to our well-being.”
CMHA’s Clubhouse programs provide social connection and recreational opportunities for adults 18+ with weekly activities including art and guitar lessons, creative writing, nature walks, swimming and floor hockey.
For seniors, the Young at Heart program allows participants to take part in armchair travelling, music, crafts and exercise programs while receiving peer support.
CMHA’s early intervention programs for youth aged seven to 18 also incorporate recreational activities to promote peer support and life skills training.
CMHA Vernon past president Bob Scott was honoured at the town hall with an original painting by local artist Christine Schmidt.
Payson thanked Scott for his support, leadership and guidance during his five-year tenure as president.
“We are eternally grateful for your hard work and dedication to the programs and services of CMHA Vernon and District,” she said.
It was by happenstance that Scott became involved with the organization.
A retired air force pilot and business leader, he occasionally booked CMHA rooms for his business meetings and subsequently became acquainted with the staff.
“I was truly blown away by what this organization does for the community,” said Scott. “Although I am going off the board, I will continue to support CMHA Vernon and the great work being done.”
Scott was instrumental in the expansion of community education programming offered by the organization, seeing the need to reach a broader range of community members needing support.
Some of the many sessions offered by CMHA Vernon include Self-care for Depression, Anxiety Management, Grief Support for Suicide Loss, BounceBack Reclaim Your Health to help individuals manage mood problems and cope with stress, and peer support and education services.
CMHA also provides training for support workers, parents and caregivers to recognize signs of mental health problems, and to respond with referrals to appropriate resources and supports, as well as offering Workplace Wellness courses for employers and employees.