MILFORD: “I guess the third time is the charm!”
Those were some of the only words that Susan Henderson, the Executive Director of the Colchester East Hants Mental Health Association could say after her organization was selected as the most recent recipient of 100 Women Who Care East Hants.
At the gathering of women on Dec. 6 at the Milford Recreation Hall, the ladies heard from both Henderson, and Margaret Logan Graham, a volunteer with the Caring and Sharing Angel Tree Food Bank.
This was the third time that the Mental Health Association was selected as one of the nominees. Henderson laughed as she presented, saying she felt like she was in a room of friends after being invited back so often. But, she was also very thankful for another opportunity.
“The last two times I’ve spoken, I’ve talked about statistics, how one in four of us struggles with mental health, I’ve talked about impacts,and how family and friends struggle too,” she said. “The very fact that we have been picked from your draw three times tells me that you understand the importance of mental health support and services.
“I’m speaking to the converted, and that in itself is cause for celebration.”
Part of the success of 100 Women who Care globally is bringing together the strong women of the communities where they live. Henderson said they are often the caregivers in a mental health situation as well.
“As partners and mothers, sisters and daughters, you understand the message that all of us are impacted directly or indirectly by mental health,” she said.
With 67 teams registered, the Mental Health Association was awarded $6,700. Henderson said that donation will go a long way in setting up much needed support here in East Hants.
“Since the last time we presented in September, we have been in contact with Cathy MacDonald at the East Hants family resource centre and due to her generosity we are looking into renting space for outreach programs,” she said. “We are thrilled that we could potentially be able to open this space twice a month for drop in support.
“We will use your generous donation to being and build the service.”
She laid out what kind of services will be set up locally.
“Your donation will provide a CMHA Mental Health support worker available to be able to meet one on one to provide what I like to call, tea and a talk. Mental health issues ebb and flow, and sometimes we realize, we cant make it better, but we can make a tea.
“It’s about doing all we can,” she said.
And through some of the more difficult years of life, Henderson said support will be available for youth as well.
“Youth outreach staff will also utilize the space, to be with youth and provide support, ” she said. “Most mental health issues begin to make their appearance by age 17, so it’s really important for youth to have someone to help them.
“Overwhelming feelings of anxiety and depression can add to the complexity of the teenage world.”
She also said if the interest is there, many workshops could be offered in the future as well.
“Where there is demand, workshops can be held in this space ,” said Henderson. “Our branch already offers a variety of sessions on topics such as work life balance, emotions management, and taking care of your mental health.”
The 100 Women Who Care will hold their next meeting on March 7. A location has not yet been announced. Organizers Betty Hirtle Gordon and Mindy LeBlanc encourage everyone thinking of registering to do so, to help get the numbers closer to 100 teams.