The Stanstead Social Integration 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 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 twice 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 and meets for a half day on Wednesdays (for a painting session with local artist Antonia Mitchell) and a full day on Fridays for a group music therapy session, then cooking and eating, followed by an exercise session. 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 Marie-Pier Ouellet, CSSSM mental health social worker, at 819-843-2572, ext. 2579. For more information about mental health illnesses, support groups for the individual as well as family, and any upcoming information sessions, please contact Mental Health Estrie at 819-565-3777.
Family Violence Interactive Workshop
The Community Health and Social Services Network (CHSSN) and Educaloi (a non-profit organization that provides legal information to the public in everyday language) are offering an interactive workshop for community members about the legal issues surrounding family violence. Designed for service providers, this session will cover issues such as the legal rights of victims and perpetrators, youth protection, family law (separation, parenting arrangements, etc.), as well as steps for navigating the legal processes surrounding these issues. This workshop is intended for everyone—teachers, guidance counselors, social workers, community and shelter workers, law enforcement officers, volunteers—who works with people experiencing family violence of any kind. Please join this expert panel to learn more about common myths encountered in situations of family violence, how the legal system deals with family violence, as well as how to navigate the legal processes surrounding family violence.
The workshop will take place at Champlain Regional College, 2580 College Street in Lennoxville, on Tuesday, February 28, between 10:00 am and noon. To reserve a spot, or for more information, please contact Shannon Keenan at 819-566-5717 (toll free: 1-866-566-5717).
Photo Cutline: Members of Stanstead’s “After the rainbow comes the sun” group (pictured with Debbie Bishop, Townshippers’ Association coordinator) gathered together this past summer to celebrate the birthday of one of the group members. The group meetings offered through this project have enabled participants to meet new people and make new friends, while also learning about the resources and tools that are available to help those who are living with a mental health illness.
Photo Credit: Ross Murray