Women and Wellness event to be held in Truro

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Event aimed at dissolving stigmas around mental illness and improving overall well-being

 The Women & Wellness event planning committee in the lobby of Cobequid Educational Centre as they prepare for their event that will be held there at on Jan. 31. SUBMITTED PHOTO

TRURO - An event aimed at dissolving stigmas around mental illness and improving overall well-being will be held here this week.

On Jan. 31, women of all ages will come together, in the AV room of Cobequid Educational Centre, for a free evening of laughter, learning and delicious Chef-prepared finger foods, celebrating health in mind, body and spirit at Truro’s Women & Wellness® event; in support of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).

Money raised during the event will help CMHA deliver education and support programs for people living with mental illness, their loved ones and the public.

Helen MacDonnell, the founder of Women and Wellness® believes it is time for an “Ashamed No More” campaign, to rid the world of the stigma and shame people living with mental illness endure because of their brain-based conditions.

“It is time for people living with mental illness and their loved ones to demand better treatment and services, and receive more timely and appropriate care,” said MacDonnell, in a news release. “Less than five per cent of our health care dollars are spent on a health condition that impacts everyone from preschoolers to seniors. Mental health has been the orphan child of our health care system, yet mental wellness is a huge factor in our overall health and how we engage as citizens.”

Just as the ‘Idle No More’ movement has turned the spotlight on the less than equal treatment of Canada’s First Nations, MacDonnell said it is time to rethink how society treats those who live with depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorder or other mental

health challenges.

In it’s 10th year, the Women & Wellness® event sprang from the passionate leadership of MacDonnell whose brother died by suicide in January 2003, setting her on a mission to create change in how mental illness is understood in Canada.

The women of Colchester have embraced Women & Wellness for three years running. They return each year to be inspired and uplifted, inviting friends, sisters, mothers and daughters. As word has spread the numbers attending have continued to grow, necessitating a move to a larger venue for the fourth Colchester Women & Wellness.

For more information on the event, contact Tricia at CMHA - 895-4211.

The first event was a kitchen “party with a purpose” in Moncton, N. B., to which she invited 54 guests. The goal was to create a safe place for women to talk about mental health. The idea has since caught the imagination and attention of thousands of women

across the country, with events taking place in 16 communities this winter and raising over $800,000, since 2004.

“Women & Wellness® has been a gift wrapped in barbed wire,” said MacDonnell. “How could I not be inspired when thousands of women come together with one thing in common - a determination to speak, not whisper, about mental health.”

Understanding how important the mental health of women is to families, Shoppers Drug Mart is the proud presenting sponsor of Women & Wellness®. The event is also sponsored by Bell Canada on a national level and locally by Scotiabank and the movement continues to grow.

The result is a truly special night designed to unite and empower women - reaching those who are affected by a range of mental health issues and concerns; whether they are experiencing these issues personally or acting as an advocate for someone who is not in a position to speak for herself.

Organizations: Canadian Mental Health Association, Cobequid Educational Centre, First Nations Shoppers Drug Mart Bell Canada Scotiabank

Geographic location: Truro, Canada, Colchester Moncton

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