New mental health outreach worker provides vital assistance to people getting back in the community
TRURO – A new outreach program is making a positive difference in Truro.
Sally Normanton, left, and Margie Archibald are spreading the word the Canadian Mental Health Association has a new outreach worker. Normanton is the designated person and Archibald has been attending a related weekly gathering that provides support to caregivers of people with mental health issues. Monique Chiasson – Truro Daily News
The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Colchester East Hants branch which is located in Truro, now has a community outreach worker who liaisons with various departments at the Colchester East Hants Health Centre to support people who are transitioning from the hospital back into the community.
Truro’s Sally Normanton, the CMHA outreach worker, said the program is valuable for numerous reasons.
“It’s very client-led and helps people who are being discharged know that they have support once they get out of the hospital … we haven’t had this type of program before,” said Normanton.
The initiative works closely with the hospital’s inpatient psychiatric ward, outpatient services and mental health and addictions. Some of the services provided include helping the client with accommodations, groceries, social services paperwork, taking them to appointments, finding them places to socialize and being there to talk and listen.
“It sounds like some of these things don’t relate to mental health but they do because they are things that (impact) daily life, which affects mental health … and there’s still a lot of stigma so they (appreciate) being treated normal,” said Normanton.
Another aspect of the program is connecting with community agencies, spreading the word this initiative is available and offering group programming such as Family Matters in Mental Health. The weekly gathering focuses on caregivers and is also in conjunction with the project’s partners.
Stewiacke’s Margie Archibald is one of the group’s participants and said it has made a huge difference in her life.
“As a parent of two children with mental health issues, the support is amazing. I leave feeling uplifted and healthier and (remember) to take care of myself. I have to be healthy so I can help others,” said Archibald.
“It teaches how to support people (with mental health issues) properly and not to enable them or rescue them and how to know the difference” as well as setting healthy boundaries, encouraging each other and sharing experiences so you know “you are not alone” or isolated, she said.
The group accepts new members, but registration is necessary by calling CMHA at 895-4211. More information about the outreach service, which is open to the entire community, can also be obtained by calling the CMHA office.