Clara’s ride coming through

Clara Hughes' big ride is coming through Grand Forks Friday, May 23 at 3:30 p.m. at Gyro Park.

About one in five people—more than six and a half million Canadians—experiences a mental disorder during their lifetime. In Grand Forks, the numbers are higher, with 31 per cent of the population reporting that they live with depression and/or anxiety. Unfortunately, many people don’t ask for help because they feel ashamed or scared. People may judge them and treat them negatively based solely on the mental health problem. Others have trouble finding a place to live, finding a job, maintaining relationships and other important aspects of life. In fact, most people living with a mental disorder say that the stigma is worse than the symptoms they feel.Clara Hughes, Canada’s six-time cycling and speed-skating Olympic medallist, is trying to grow awareness and action about mental health and help end this stigma by completing a 110-day national bicycle tour across Canada.   Clara’s Big Ride will visit every province and territory in Canada, including a visit to Grand Forks on May 23. Clara’s Big Ride will also showcase and support the work and value of local mental health organizations and initiatives across Canada. The community is invited to celebrate Clara’s arrival at a welcome event at Gyro Park beginning at 2:30 p.m.Youth groups have been preparing, making T-shirts and posters for the event., hoping to raise funds to send kids to camp.In Grand Forks and Boundary, the agency that provides much of that support is provided through Interior Health’s Mental Health and Substance Use Services (MHSU), which serve the local area from Christina Lake to Beaverdell and Bridesville. On average, 250 people access this service at any time. Psychiatrists, outreach workers and case Managers provide many services including short-term assessment and treatment, long-term programs for those with a serious and persistent mental illness, seniors’ mental health services as well as substance use prevention and treatment services. These programs are designed to support clients in their recovery.  Along with services for individuals, the local MHSU Centre offers a number of support groups  throughout the year . One of the biggest advantages of these groups is to help clients realize that they are not alone — that there are other people who have the same problems. This is often a revelation and a huge relief to the person.  As well, being in a support group can also help people develop new skills to both manage their illness and connect with their community. Another local resource, the Mental Health Clubhouse, has a variety of programs running on a consistent basis including Art Group, Women’s Group, Wellness Support Group,  Women’s Group,  Men’s Group as well as offering breakfasts and socialization on Fridays. MHSU works collaboratively with other IH services and with various community services including the RCMP, the Boundary Women’s Coalition, Boundary Family and Individual Services Society, MCFD, and the Ministry of Housing.  This community centered approach provides clients with care that is integrated and supports the whole person.For more information contact Suzanne Lee, Boundary MHSU.

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