Grey Bruce Health Services (GBHS) has had an enjoyable week supporting events aimed at breaking the silence around mental health issues and helping to put an end to discrimination, stigma and shame.

On Friday, May 6, GBHS hosted approximately 50 guests at the third annual Coffee House held in the Cafeteria of the Owen Sound Hospital. This two hour event featured performers who shared some of their own experiences with mental health and provided moving poetry and musical entertainment.

“This event is a great bridge between the community and people involved with mental health,” said Melanie Knapp, previous patient and organizer of the Coffee House. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to show people with mental health difficulties that their peers really do care a great deal. The arts can be extremely helpful and healing to those with mental health concerns.”

Additionally, an Art Show was held on Thursday, May 5 at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery. This event featured art work from the Artopia initiative, an arts program that provides individuals who face mental illness with a space for creation and self-expression. The Artopia Show was directed by the TOM and organized collaboratively with the help of GBHS Outpatient Mental Health, Hope Grey Bruce and Grey Bruce Canadian Mental Health Association.

“Our mental health program has observed the power of art therapy,” said Naomi Vodden, GBHS Director of Mental Health Services. “Patients use art as a means to non-verbally communicate and navigate through how they are feeling, all while serving as a therapeutic activity for the patient helping them to de-stress and relax.”

Mental Health Awareness Week has wrapped up for another year and GBHS extends a thank you to everyone who took part in organizing and attending these great events. Initiatives such as these bring us another step closer to breaking the silence that can surround mental health by creating accepting, empowering and healing environments.

GBHS is always looking for input on current and upcoming initiatives and wants to hear from you! If you are interested in becoming a Mental Health Patient Advisor, please contact the GBHS Volunteer Services department at Ext. 2885.

Media contact: Nicole Schmidt, Communications Coordinator, Grey Bruce Health Services, nischmidt@gbhs.on.ca, 519-346-2121, Ext. 2805.