Meeting the need

Sue Hickey
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Mental health association opens central region office

Do you have concerns about mental health, whether yours or a relative’s? Are you looking for programs and support services, but have no idea where to begin? The Canadian Mental Health Association has a new office in Grand Falls-Windsor, and its regional coordinator is Tia Morria. The office is located on Pinsent Street.

Did you know that one in five Canadians, according to a leading organization in the field, will experience a mental health disorder during their lifetime?

Perhaps you're one of the more than six and a half million in that category.

But you don't have to be a member of that category to be affected, especially if you have friends or family with mental health issues, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).

Those numbers were a motivation for the CMHA to open two new offices in the province, in addition to the one it already has in St. John's: one in Stephenville, and now Grand Falls-Windsor, says its new regional coordinator.

"Primarily, we're going to be spreading awareness and information, and increasing discussion around mental health and mental illness," said coordinator Tia Morris. "We want to increase dialogue in the central region around mental health and mental illness. We want to reduce the stigma that's related to that, and we want to make sure people in central are aware of our programs and services, and are able to access those as needed."

She explained the association has been running a number of programs from its St. John's office; the staff there travel around the province offering them. Morris said she hopes to assist the staff in question in travelling to the regions her office will be covering.

One of the programs already offered by the CMHA is "Think Twice." It's an anti-stigma initiative for junior high and high school students, developed and led by an association staff member from the St. John's office.

"He presents a very interactive, experiential type of presentation to youth to get them to learn more about mental health and mental illness, and rethink some of the messages they have been sent, that we feel need to be clarified and corrected," said Morris.

The stereotypes about people with mental illness are numerous. One of the most common, according to the CHMA, is that "mentally ill people are dangerous." In fact, states the association in one of its brochures, and confirmed by Morris, is that the vast majority of people with mental illnesses are not violent. On the contrary, they are more often victims of violence, rather than perpetrators of violence. In the cases where violence does occur, it results from the reasons as with the general public, such as feeling threatened, or excessive use of alcohol and/or drugs.

Another stereotype, says Morris, is that people with mental illness can never be normal. In fact, however, the CMHA says people with mental illness can and do recover, and resume normal activities.

"A lack of understanding and awareness has resulted in a lot of these stereotypes," she said. "A major role of the CMHA is to try and remedy that. Many of those misconceptions can be harmful to people."

The CMHA's regional office is located at 16 Pinsent Street in Grand Falls-Windsor. Their toll-free number is 1-877-753-8550. The website is

Organizations: Canadian Mental Health Association

Geographic location: St. John's, Grand Falls-Windsor, Stephenville 16 Pinsent Street

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Recent comments

  • Supportive citizens
    March 17, 2012 - 13:06

    I think the author of the previous comment has missed the true intent of this article and that of the Canadian Mental Health Association. I commend the Advertiser and the Canadian Mental Health Association for drawing attention issues related to mental illness. Discussion of the facts is crucial to reducing stigma. That includes discounting harmful stereotypes about mental illness that currently prevail. Thank you for this article and keep up the good work! Thank you

  • John
    March 10, 2012 - 05:06

    I see that drugs are the only recourse for someone who has any trouble be it physical or mental. People talk about the rising costs the health sector puts on the public while the institutions only use expensive medicines and procedures to 'fix' any ailment. I guess if you could teach people how to nourish their bodies and brains their would be no need to institutionalize anyone or sell expensive drugs creating a loss of jobs and revenue. I tried to recommend some reading on this site but the comment hasn't been displayed. Sad censorship, and poor media coverage are keeping people in the dark about therapies that can effect real, positive change without the toxic liver/kidney effects of any drug therapy.

  • John
    March 09, 2012 - 11:39

    Mental illness is growing but it is reversible. Anyone can see the distress the body goes through with a diet of, say, bleached white flour products and coffee or tea. The poor diet practiced by most Canadians and especially Newfoundlanders is terrible. Every time I go home, I'm surprised by the new 'fat' standard, which is constantly increasing, as well as the "Oh, my back!" and "My knees are gone." If your food choices can damage your bones, joints and muscles, what do you think it could do to your delicate brain? To enjoy good brain health, I recommend "New Optimum Nutrition For the Mind" by Patrick Holford. Very well written, easy to understand with lots of simple things you can incorporate into your daily regimen to possibly reverse symptoms or ensure holding on to your senses well into your golden years. What you're NOT eating is just as important as what you are eating.

  • Harold A. Maio
    March 08, 2012 - 21:09

    I do not accept your language: We want to reduce the stigma that's related to that (mental illness) I do not relate stigmas, not for anyone, I am clearly aware of the prejudice and bullying represented by that term, and so were women who fought to stop that association with sexual assault. A smiling young woman is now re-directing it, through you, through your paper. Stop. Not only is she re-redirecting it she clearly states she does not want it ended, only "reduced." That was certainly not the goal of the women's movement. The stereotypes about people with mental illness (or any other group)... Do not bear repeating, education is how they are ended, not repetition. Harold A. Maio, retired mental health editor