Katrina Kiefer, left, executive director of the CMHA Port Alberni branch, and Bev Nielsen welcome the public to the CMHA clubhouse on Second Avenue for Wellness Wednesday on May 9. LAURA STURGEON PHOTO

Katrina Kiefer, left, executive director of the CMHA Port Alberni branch, and Bev Nielsen welcome the public to the CMHA clubhouse on Second Avenue for Wellness Wednesday on May 9. LAURA STURGEON PHOTO

Canadian Mental Health Association celebrates ‘Wellness Wednesday’ in Port Alberni

CMHA Clubhouse garden party runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 9

BY LAURA STURGEON

Special to the News

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) will celebrate Mental Health Week with a special “Wellness Wednesday” event this Wednesday, May 9 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“The Clubhouse” at 3178 Second Ave. will be hosting a garden party between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. for anyone who wants to drop by. Free hotdogs will be served, cool swag will be given out, and there will also be a chance to win a door prize.

This will be a great opportunity to meet clubhouse members, staff and volunteers who work hard to create a place full of hope to those with mental health challenges. Guests can also have a tour of the clubhouse and speak to peer support staff who will be onsite to provide any information about the facility as well as about mental health issues.

Need employment retraining? Need somewhere safe and affordable to live? Needing help to avoid isolation by connecting with others? Short on food for the month? Finding it difficult to cope? These are just but a few out of the numerous areas where the CMHA can offer support through daily programs and services.

Founded in 1918, the CMHA presides in 330 communities across every province, providing advocacy and resources to help prevent mental health issues, support recovery and resilience and enable all Canadians to flourish and thrive.

“We sometimes use the terms “mental health” and mental illness interchangeably,” says Katrina Kiefer, executive director of CMHA’s Port Alberni branch. “But being mentally well is not the absence of illness—in fact mental health is something we all need to promote, protect and celebrate.”

Now is the time to remove the stigma of mental illness. It may be a stumbling block, a hurdle or a complete debilitation, but it’s real and it can be overcome with proper support and advocacy.

If you are unable to make it out for Wednesday’s event, and you would like further information about all programs and services offered by the CMHA, friendly and knowledgeable peer support workers will have booths set up at West Coast General Hospital in the atrium from May 7–11.