Occupational Therapist from our Community Connections Program
Melissa’s advice/inspiration for others
Treating ourselves with self-compassion is one of the most valuable tools we can learn and use. Self-compassion involves treating ourselves with kindness, instead of criticizing ourselves when things go wrong. It also involves the principle of common humanity, where we recognize that part of being human is that we are not perfect; we will all make mistakes, experience setbacks, and fail. The beauty of this is that we are never alone in what we are going through. Finally, it involves mindfulness, where we acknowledge our thoughts – and our pain – non-judgmentally, without trying to ignore it. We validate our thoughts and emotions, without getting carried away by them. I believe that every person can strengthen their “self-compassion” muscle and that it can be a life-changing tool.
Melissa’s favourite memory at CMHA
One of my favourite memories since joining CMHA is participating in the recent Camping Trip. This is an annual agency-wide event where clients and staff camp for 4-days at a provincial park. This year, I was one of the co-leads in organizing the trip, and it was especially rewarding to see months of planning come to life. Everyone at the campsite assisted in preparing the meals, cleaning up, and assisting one another with tasks such as setting up tents. Some of my favourite activities included enjoying smores around the campfire, making a tie-dye shirt, and having lovely conversations with all the campers. I am so grateful to the numerous staff that helped to put on the event, and to the incredible clients for contributing to a fun and welcoming atmosphere during the trip.
Why Melissa enjoys working at CMHA
Working at CMHA supports my ambition of making a lasting positive impact in the community. CMHA cultivates an uplifting environment where staff can feel supported, empowered to grow, and can connect with other compassionate individuals in the organization. It is extremely meaningful to work with dedicated people at CMHA who care about the community and each other. Further, CMHA fosters a culture that inspires me to strive for excellence in my role, innovate to provide high-quality services, and engage in ongoing learning to be a greater asset to those I work with. I feel very fortunate to work in a program where I can witness clients continuously demonstrate authenticity, courage, and growth in their mental health journeys.
How our Community Connections Program supports our community
Community Connections is an incredible program that provides an empowering space for individuals to improve their mental health and well-being. The program provides many Drop-In Social Hubs across York Region and South Simcoe. Our members can connect over a cup of coffee, participate in activities like art and games, and get support from the outstanding Community Connections staff. The program also offers free workshops where topics like self-compassion, gratitude, and strategies to manage emotions are discussed. Those who access the program can discover new, meaningful activities like drumming, meditation, gardening, and cooking. We also host monthly “outings” where staff and clients participate in community activities like going to a museum, fair, bowling alley, or local fair!
Part of the Community Connections program includes the College of Health and Well-Being. This is a “Recovery College” where learners can access free courses on mental health topics like “Understanding Anxiety”, “Joy Journaling”, “Motivation” and “Building Boundaries”. The courses are meant to be small groups of people that can come together, learn from one another, and takeaway self-care skills that can assist them in their mental health journey. We want to create a space where people can be supported to become their best selves and feel like they belong to our community.