COMMUNITY FIRST HEALTH CO-OP / Dr. Christie Bryceland  / How Our Community Explored Mental Wellness and Happiness

How Our Community Explored Mental Wellness and Happiness

What a great weekend of exploring mental wellness and happiness. The 3rd annual Passport to Wellness Health fair is a wrap. With two firsts, a focus on one aspect of wellness and a Friday night session, the health fair was a success.

On Friday night, an audience of 70, listened to three different perspectives on mental health. Gordon Denelaws, who is from Trail and a mental health trainer, focused on the work place and the male work environment. The Crew Talk program enables people in the work place to unpack their mental health issues in a safe and caring environment.

The Street Outreach team of Ryall, Bernadette and Jeremy shared the statistics and the difference they are making on the streets of Nelson. It was interesting to learn that most of the people they deal with have been in Nelson for 5-10 years, that they have been able to get 12 people into rehabilitation facilities and that the 20-30 age group is the ones most dealt with.

They are supplying harm reduction supplies, food and vitamins, bus passes and feminine hygiene products and socks.  They do intervention with the shop owners as needed and continue to spend time listening to those who need their help.

Dr. Keri Flesaker, a psychologist and HOPE researcher, returned to her

home town to open a practise and to delve into helping people through positive psychology. She gave some practical strategies to help: find a group or activity you like so you have social interaction in your life, take out the person in your life that is causing you grief, as though they were a piece of a jigsaw puzzle, and then consider life with out them – is it better or is getting back in tune with them better for you, and be AWED. Write about a time that you were in AWE of something and use that to believe in hope and resilience and positivity in your life. 

Glacier Harmonies, a women’s barbershop choir, sang some uplifting songs for us and led into the panel, ably moderated by Deb Zeeben.  It was a great balance in presenters and questions and we all left, inspired to be supportive in any way for a mental wellness environment in home, work and play.

Saturday dawned sunny, as it does on our Health Fair day, but with a later start and a focus on Mental Well Being we had the most attendees ever and certainly the most ever for the first session.

In the 10:30 sessions, Sonya Franke gave people a guide to practise Mindfulness and participants would love to have her present another time.  Karen Leman, our first ever IHA representative, gave a perspective on what is available, how to access community mental health resources and the real struggle to keep up with the demand.  Mental Health through Massage by Sherri Bouliane gave the participants a chance for not only a very personalized and informative session, but she also offered mini massages later in the day.

At 12:00   Tara Emery, a relational somatic therapist and social worker, helped people understand practical treatments and to set goals to inspire change, treat depression, anxiety, PTSD, chronic pain and insomnia.  “I liked that she gave very practical suggestions that can actually be incorporated into a person’s daily life.”   Lonnie Facchina, wore hat number 5 – she is a CFHC Board member, MS Resource Facilitator, CFHC Health committee member, ran the MS information table and did a presentation on Resilience: Addressing the Challenges of MS and other Chronic Conditions. Lee Reid did a powerful session on Growing Home: Your Personal Journey with Aging – “the experience of aging and a sense of community”, “I look forward to reading her book – her talk and presentation worked well.”

The 1:30 session was jam packed with four sessions happening.  For the parents in the audience, Parenting Kids in Anxious times given by Dr. Christy Bryceland and Liz Amaral was “very engaging and full of great ideas on how to help support your child.”     Dr. Jim Wiedrick, the lead ER Physician at KLH, opened some eyes as he told the audience dealing in the front line with mental health issues and the fentanyl crisis in Nelson. “He asked us what we expected the outcomes to be and then he gave them in a very honest and direct manner, it was a great balance of knowledge and wisdom.” 
 Laura Barkwell encouraged her audience, who were there to learn what Anxiety was and how to manage it, “that to be positive and to acknowledge the thoughts.  Meditation coach, Sarah Sherk. Guided participants through a relaxation and meditation exercise to discover first hand, how this brings one peace of mind.

Mia Gardinier facilitated the final session, a community conversation on how to be involved and what we can do for our own mental wellness and for that of our community.  We will be continuing this conversation in the weeks to come, as we all work to ensure that mental wellness and happiness is a possibility in every person’s life. 

Thanks so much for attending this excellent community event!

Marion and Eric