Support groups provide an opportunity for family and friends of as well as those suffering from mental illness: to help them better understand and cope with the implications of illness in their everyday life.
Support groups are a safe place to share concerns and ask questions in an atmosphere of acceptance and confidentiality. This is a place to speak to others who have similar experiences and are the ones who can provide an understanding from their perspective.
Support groups are important for family members / caregivers as the right sort of family involvement has been shown to improve patients functioning and even delay or prevent relapse. They have proven to be a beacon of light during times of crisis.
CLIENTS: individuals in the recovery process who have or are experiencing the challenges of mental illness.
Weekly meeting, Monday 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (except on holidays).
CAREGIVERS: family and/or friends who are involved with an individual with mental illness.
Bi-monthly meetings the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month; 10 a.m. – noon.
For more about the benefits of support groups, click here.
The Stanstead Social Integration project is managed in partnership by Mental Health Estrie, CSSS de Memphrémagog, Townshippers’ Association, Maison Stevens, CAB R.H. Rediker. The project is for residents of Stanstead, English- or French-speaking, who have been diagnosed with a mental health illness. As is the case for those living with any other kind of illness, living with a mental health illness can require strength, courage, understanding and support. The Stanstead Social Integration project helps provide participants with the tools and resources necessary to help make this process a little easier for them.
The group is intended for individuals who have learned, or are learning, how to live and function with their illness and who want to stay socially involved. The program provides clients with access to the resources needed to achieve a life project or goal, as well as a variety of learning tools. The aim of the project is to help participants develop greater self-esteem, improve social skills, develop and achieve a social position in the community and work on attitudes and behaviours so that they are better equipped to face personal and life challenges.
THE STANSTEAD MENTAL HEALTH GROUP
The Stanstead Mental Health group started in the fall of 2009 and is called “after the rainbow comes the sun.” It involves an amazing group of people with a variety of skills, talents, interests, hopes, and dreams. The thing that all participants in the group have in common is that they are all living with a mental health illness. The “after the rainbow comes the sun” group meets once a week in order to reduce their social isolation and initiate activities of interest to them (examples include painting, basket weaving, notebook making, cooking, soap making, jewelry making and more). The interests and ideas of the group are always growing. Meeting together as a group provides an opportunity for friendships to develop between people who, in many cases, would otherwise never have met each other and it helps the participants realize that they are not alone in working their way through their life with a mental illness. Recovery is possible.
The group currently gathers at the Centre d’Action Benevole (CAB) R.H. Rediker in Stanstead. New participants are welcome to join the group, however they must be referred by the Centre de santé et de services sociaux de Memphremagog (CSSSM) and be followed by a social worker.
For more information about the Stanstead Social Integration project, contact Debbie Bishop, co-coordinator of Townshippers’ Association’s Eastern Townships Partners for Health and Social Services Estrie Network at 819-566-5717, or Vincent Gervais, CSSSM mental health social worker, at 819-843-2572, ext. 2435.
Adapted with permission from Townshippers’ Association
WHAT IS HUGS?
Each year from November until March, Mental Health Estrie holds its campaign for the Accueil Poirier shelter in Sherbrooke. It is an opportunity to let homeless people know that someone is thinking of them by giving them new warm clothing:
H – hats
U – underwear
G – gloves (and mittens)
S – socks & scarves
We accept other new articles of clothing as well, such as turtlenecks, sweaters, polar fleece items, flannel shirts, jeans, boots, jackets etc., as well as toiletry items.
New items only, please. Articles are gift wrapped for the holiday season and the bulk of items are distributed as needed or until supplies run out.
You could also let us do the shopping for you – all cash gifts are used to purchase thermal underwear and other essentials. Please make cheques payable to Mental Health Estrie and indicate “HUGS” on the memo line; receipts will be issued for all donations. Or use our online donation form by clicking here.
For more than a decade, hospitals have been reducing the number of psychiatric beds. However funding to community organizations to provide the additional services needed has been very slow, and people suffering from psychiatric illness too often find themselves on the street.
In Sherbrooke, the homeless shelter assists on average 600 clients a year. Of this, 75-80% of the men and 90% of the women are dealing with a persistent mental illness.
Did you know that Sherbrooke is one of eleven Canadian cities that can expect to have at least one night of -30°C weather? In fact, on average, temperatures drop this low at least 5 evenings each winter. Your gifts keep warm those most vulnerable in our community. Furthermore, your support helps to ease the trauma of homelessness. Each year we are delighted with the number of items donated to this worthy cause. Your support and thoughtfulness in this campaign are greatly appreciated. Items can be left at Mental Health Estrie and are accepted until the end of March.