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Let’s Walk About It!

Alison Lair from the Cumberland YMCA, Amherst active lifestyles coordinator Tamara Porter, community health boards coordinator Colleen Dowe and Communities Addressing Suicide Together chair and SOAR board member Janice Melanson prepare for Let’s Walk About It Mental Health Awareness Walk on May 30.
Alison Lair from the Cumberland YMCA, Amherst active lifestyles coordinator Tamara Porter, community health boards coordinator Colleen Dowe and Communities Addressing Suicide Together chair and SOAR board member Janice Melanson prepare for Let’s Walk About It Mental Health Awareness Walk on May 30. - Submitted

#Getloud about what mental health really is

When Janice Melanson, chair of Communities Addressing Suicide Together (CAST), heard the Minds in Motion Walk was not going to take place this year, she immediately started making plans for an alternative. 

With help from Alison Lair of the Cumberland YMCA and Colleen Dowe from the Nova Scotia Health Authority, May 30 will be the first annual Let’s Walk About It Mental Health Awareness Walk. Everyone is welcome to join in!

The event will kick off at 11:45 a.m. at the YMCA of Cumberland when Bill Schuman, SOAR co-chair, will provide some motivation and Laura Coleman of the Y will lead us in a pre-walk energizer.    

The group will follow the Big Block Walk and participants will be encouraged to complete three loops or 2.1 kilometres. Following the walk everyone is invited to join us for lunch at the Y Community Kitchen.  

There is no cost however donations for the community kitchen will be gladly accepted. Events like this are an important reminder that we can all take steps to improve our mental health and to help reduce the stigma that surrounds mental illness.

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme is Get Loud about what mental health really is. According to Canadian Mental Health Association, mental health is more than focusing on mental illness - “It’s about feeling good about who you are, having balance in your life, and managing life’s highs and lows. Everyone deserves to feel well, whatever their mental health experience. And we all need a support system to lean on.”
Walk About It – Walking is shown to lower anxiety and depression, boost your mood and help take excess weight off. Walking is low impact and even a short walk is beneficial.
Talk About It – Good social connections with friends, family and community help us all sort out the ups and downs of living. Those people with good social connections live longer!
Learn About It – Try something new and boost your brain power. Did you know that it is proven that as we age, if we learn new things we’re less likely to develop dementia? So dust off those dancing shoes and learn line dancing, take an art class, yoga or Tai Chi. Your brain will thank you!

Help Others – Get out there and volunteer. There is no better way to make social connections than to volunteer your time. There are many worthwhile organizations in Cumberland including the YMCA, Rotary, Lions and Lioness Club and the 50-Plus Club. Get out there, you’ll be glad you did!
If you need more information about mental health services please contact 211.

All three of our community health boards are currently looking for new members.

Bill Schurman and Linda Cloney, SOAR Co-chairs

Terri Ashley and Trudy Weir, SPAR Co-chairs

Joyce Gray, Pugwash and Area Chair

All of our meetings are open to the public – SOAR will be meeting May 17 at 5:30 p.m.; SPAR meets May 30 at 5:30 p.m. and Pugwash and Area meets June 7 at 6 p.m.

For more information and about the board, their meetings or to learn how you can become a member please contact Colleen Dowe at 902-397-0376 or Colleen.dowe@nshealth.ca.

Colleen Dowe is the coordinator of Cumberland County’s community health boards.

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