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Mental Health Stories, Tips and Happenings

Check out our recent articles below to learn how to better manage your mental health, what’s going on around our branch and how you can get involved. Happy reading!

Nursing Week: Frances

Nursing Week: Frances

We are so grateful both on Nursing Week and every week for the amazing nurses that make up our team here at Canadian Mental Health Association, York Region and South Simcoe. One of these nurses is Frances, who has recently joined our team as the Vice President of Clinical Operations.  Learn more about her journey as a nurse below.    Why did you decide to become a nurse? Honestly, it was sort of a fluke.

Social Work Week and Month: Karen

Social Work Week and Month: Karen

March is National Social Work Month, with Social Work Week running from March 1st through 7th. In honour of these events, we decided to share profiles of some of the great Social Workers that make up the awesome team here at CMHA York Region and South Simcoe. Enjoy! Karen 1. Why did you decided to become a Social Worker? I decided to become a social worker while I was working on my PhD in the field of education. 

Social Work Week And Month: Kusumam

Social Work Week And Month: Kusumam

March is National Social Work Month, with Social Work Week running from March 1st through 7th. In honour of these events, we decided to share profiles of some of the great Social Workers that make up the awesome team here at CMHA York Region and South Simcoe. Enjoy! Kusumam 1. Why did you decide to become a Social Worker? The social work profession gives me the opportunity to care for others within a professional and evidence-based framework. Being

Social Work Week And Month: Nisha

Social Work Week And Month: Nisha

March is National Social Work Month, with Social Work Week running from March 1st through 7th. In honour of these events, we decided to share profiles of some of the great Social Workers that make up the awesome team here at CMHA York Region and South Simcoe. Enjoy! Nisha 1. Why did you decide to become a Social Worker? I remember doing the test in my grade 10 career studies class and social work was the first profession

Peer Support Specialist: Nicole

Peer Support Specialist: Nicole

This week we are sharing the profiles of two of our amazing Peer Support Specialists and the awesome work they do here at CMHA York Region and South Simcoe. We’d also like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the CMHA College of Health and Well-Being (based on the Recovery College* model), that is aimed at enabling people to become experts in their own self-care and to develop skills and confidence to manage their

Landlords Needed in York Region and South Simcoe for those Experiencing Homelessness

Landlords Needed in York Region and South Simcoe for those Experiencing Homelessness

Homelessness is a pressing issue in York Region and something that can happen to anyone at any given time. Homelessness also comes at a cost for the system. According to the Homeless Hub, research has shown that the cost to house someone is significantly cheaper than shelter beds or hospital stays. We are currently looking for landlords that would be willing to house those experiencing homelessness. Along with the opportunity to give back to people in need, both yourself

Why I’m in Motion: Monika

Why I’m in Motion: Monika

The staff here at CMHA York Region and South Simcoe believe in our mission and work so much, that many participate in Mental Health In Motion every year. Learn why Monika, from the People and Culture Team, is in motion this year. What is your position at CMHA and how long have you been here? I am a recruiter on ​the amazing People and Culture team (Human Resources). I have been working ​at CMHA-YRSS for a little over a

Peer Support Specialist Profile: Bill

Peer Support Specialist Profile: Bill

Peer Support Specialist: Bill This week we are sharing the profiles of two of our amazing Peer Support Specialists and the awesome work they do here at CMHA York Region and South Simcoe. We’d also like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the CMHA College of Health and Well-Being (based on the Recovery College* model), that is aimed at enabling people to become experts in their own self-care and to develop skills and

Using Social Media to Benefit Your Mental Health

Using Social Media to Benefit Your Mental Health

On February 9, CMHA joins educators, industry professionals and the community worldwide in acknowledging Safer Internet Day, which aims to create both a safer and a better internet, where everyone is empowered to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively. When it comes to new technologies, one of the biggest concerns with regards to mental health is the excessive use of social media. While social media use can help decrease feelings of isolation and loneliness,
Normalizing Voices

Normalizing Voices

By Nicole Parker, James Welsman and Brian Major With depression and anxiety being talked about more frequently, we are on our way to reducing the stigma associated with mental health. However, one thing that is not discussed as openly, is when a person admits that they hear voices, often leaving others to be caught off guard. How Common Is It? It has been suggested that 3% to 10% of the population hears voices that other
Wrap Up: 12 Days of Giving and Receiving

Wrap Up: 12 Days of Giving and Receiving

This year’s 12 Days of Giving and Receiving Campaign is not only our way of raising the funds necessary to ensure everyone in our community has access to the programs and services they need to achieve good mental health, but is also a way of giving back to those who support CMHA YRSS by providing helpful mental health tips and resources. Here’s a quick wrap up of everything we’ve shared over the past 12 days.
Gratitude Song

Gratitude Song

Here at CMHA, we are extremely grateful to our donors, volunteers, followers, community and others who make a difference in our organization and the people we serve. On our last day of our Giving and Receiving Campaign, we wanted to share with you a Gratitude Song created in collaboration with our clients, staff and volunteers during our virtual holiday celebrations this past week. Still interested in making a difference and donating to our holiday campaign MAKE
Holiday Happiness Playlist

Holiday Happiness Playlist

Our holiday happiness playlist is here! We consulted our various cultural affinity groups and staff members to come up with this playlist that will keep you moving and grooving all holiday long. Available on YouTube and Spotify. Enjoy! On YouTube On Spotify Donate to CMHA York Region and South Simcoe
An Amazing Intervention: MOBYSS

An Amazing Intervention: MOBYSS

Trigger Warning: Suicide Ideation/Mature Content We talk a lot about how MOBYSS – Ontario’s first and only mobile youth health clinic – saves lives. Recently Lindsay, one of our MOBYSS Peer Support Workers, did just that. All by text. I’m sharing this with you because MOBYSS needs our support now more than ever. At 4:00 p.m. on a Friday, Lindsay got a text asking if she had time for a chat. The young man on the other side of the phone was in
Self-Care During The Holidays: Keep The ‘Me’ In Merry

Self-Care During The Holidays: Keep The ‘Me’ In Merry

Like many things in 2020, this holiday season is going to be unique. Along with typical holiday stressors such as high expectations, family dynamics, financial difficulties, as well as increased alcohol and food consumption, this season is going to bring its own set of challenges including reduced family gatherings, increased financial pressure, isolation, loss of tradition and more. Although the holidays are traditionally a season of giving, the first gift you should give should always
Igniting Her Passion: Laurie-National Housing Day

Igniting Her Passion: Laurie-National Housing Day

Igniting Her Passion: Laurie-National Housing Day November 22, 2020 is National Housing Day, where we acknowledge the work done by organizations and people all across Canada to ensure that everyone has the dignity of a place to call home. Here at CMHA York Region and South Simcoe (CMHA YRSS), we are extremely grateful for our amazing Home First Community Support Team, who not only help our clients secure and maintain housing, but also support them
Coping With The Death Of A Loved One From Suicide

Coping With The Death Of A Loved One From Suicide

Coping With the Death of a Loved One From Suicide November 21 marks Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. Losing a friend or loved one to suicide can come with a unique grieving process, and an impact that stays with those grieving for a long time. In this article, our clinical experts share some tips on coping with the loss of a loved one from suicide. You are not alone First, it’s important to know that
CMHA Commemorates Transgender Day Of Remembrance

CMHA Commemorates Transgender Day Of Remembrance

CMHA York Region and South Simcoe joins individuals and organizations worldwide to commemorate the Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual observance on November 20 that honours the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. These acts of violence are due to stigma and discrimination against their identity and community. Individuals who identify as transgender experience stigma, discrimination and violence, and “everyday transphobia.” These experiences of discrimination and violence
Nurse Practitioner Week-Michelle: Pursuing A Childhood Dream Of Working In Health Care

Nurse Practitioner Week-Michelle: Pursuing A Childhood Dream Of Working In Health Care

November 8 to 14, 2020 is Nurse Practitioner Week where we celebrate the vital role that Nurse Practitioners play in our health-care system, including here at CMHA York Region and South Simcoe. In honour of this week, we thought we’d showcase some of our Nurse Practitioners here at CMHA. Here is the profile on Michelle, a Nurse Practitioner on our MOBYSS and Gender Affirming Health Clinic Team. 1. Why did you decide to become a Nurse Practitioner? It was always a
Nurse Practitioner Week-Shelly: Addressing Gaps In Mental Health Care

Nurse Practitioner Week-Shelly: Addressing Gaps In Mental Health Care

November 8 to 14, 2020 is Nurse Practitioner Week where we celebrate the vital role that Nurse Practitioners play in our health-care system, including here at CMHA York Region and South Simcoe. In honour of this week, we thought we’d showcase some of our Nurse Practitioners here at CMHA. Here is the profile on Shelly, a Nurse Practitioner in our Flexible Supports Program. Why did you decide to become a Nurse Practitioner? I spent the better part of
Occupational Therapy At CMHA York Region And South Simcoe

Occupational Therapy At CMHA York Region And South Simcoe

October is Occupational Therapy Month, with World Occupational Therapy Day falling on the 27th. During this time, we take time to recognize the important contributions that these healthcare workers have made not only on our work at CMHA York Region and South Simcoe (YR/SS), but around the world, in helping people continue to participate in the activities that mean the most to them. In honour of Occupational Therapists everywhere, we thought we’d take the time to explain what
Finding His Home In Occupational Therapy: Jacky Occupational Therapist Home First Community Support Team

Finding His Home In Occupational Therapy: Jacky Occupational Therapist Home First Community Support Team

The Beginning Jacky came across Occupational Therapy for the first time, after finishing his undergraduate degree in psychology, when he was searching for opportunities in the mental health field. Jacky was interested to learn that Occupational Therapy referred to more than just work, but a range of meaningful roles and activities that make up who we are. Knowing the importance that these occupations/activities had in his own life and wellness, he thought this would be
Kittens, Drumming And Making A Difference: Deb Occupational Therapist Community Connections

Kittens, Drumming And Making A Difference: Deb Occupational Therapist Community Connections

Once Upon a Time… When Deb was young, she read a book about a boy who had been severely burned. In the book, the boy went to see an Occupational Therapist as part of his treatment, piquing Deb’s curiosity to learn more. She was interested to find out that along with helping others, Occupational Therapy involved a unique mix of art and science. Landing in Her Current Role at CMHA Before landing in her current
Talking To Teens About Mental Health And Suicide

Talking To Teens About Mental Health And Suicide

Each day, 11 Canadians take their own lives, and suicide is the second-leading cause of death amongst young people. There is a common perception that talking about suicide can be a trigger, or can ‘plant the idea’ in someone’s mind. However, research shows that talking about suicide in a hopeful and respectful way can help to change, and save, lives. We are living in stressful and uncertain times, and young people are facing some unique
Helping Young People Stay Safe On Social Media

Helping Young People Stay Safe On Social Media

Social media is always changing, and it can be hard for parents and caregivers to know who young people are connecting with online, or the sort of content that they are engaging with. Social media is a fact of life, and an important gathering place for young people. It can provide supportive connection with friends, helpful resources and information, and surprising and uplifting content. Unfortunately, just like in the ‘real’ world, social media can also
Back To School Tips For Students

Back To School Tips For Students

By Lisa Wood and Sandy Bundy Are you feeling anxious about the school year ahead? Many things have changed for everyone lately, and we know that this school year is going to look different from what we have known in the past. If you are feeling anxious, stressed or worried about the school year, you are not alone! Anxiety can affect us mentally, emotionally, physically and socially. Anxiety causes distress and unsettling physical feelings. It
Back To School Tips And Resources For Parents Of Teens

Back To School Tips And Resources For Parents Of Teens

By Lisa Wood and Sandy Bundy As we reflect back on the past six months, there is no doubt that there has been a lot of uncertainty in all of our lives. Many parents worked from home, supported their kids with online learning and all of our routines came to a skidding halt. We readjusted to a new normal, hopefully had a bit of a break over the summer and are now heading into fall.
Campus Opioid Overdose Protocol And Information Sheets

Campus Opioid Overdose Protocol And Information Sheets

Why does your campus need an opioid overdose protocol? The case is simple. When it comes to substance use, youth in Canada are at high risk. Download the campus protocol Download the Drug Safety on Campus information sheet Download the  information sheet on Safer Drug Use for Students Download a Wallet Card to distribute to students For the full Carry It Toolkit visit www.cmha.ca/carryit.
Community Connections: Virtual Art Wall

Community Connections: Virtual Art Wall

Art with Heart at Home Being creative together offers us an opportunity to connect with others, our environment and ourselves. This group is meant to take what you have available around your home to make and share art. Art with Heart at Home is a supportive community, where we share the joy and delight of creating with one another. Mindful Doodles Use a simple pattern-making technique to practice mindfulness. All you need is a pen
What You Need To Know About Self-Care

What You Need To Know About Self-Care

Although you have probably heard of self-care before through memes encouraging you to ‘treat yo’ self’ or embedded in descriptions for wellness or luxury goods, self-care is not about buying the right products or investing in expensive experiences. Rather, self-care is about prioritizing yourself and is accessible to everyone no matter your income level. In this article we will provide you with information on what self-care really is and how you can embrace it to
Racism And Mental Health

Racism And Mental Health

Here in Canada we are not immune to racism. Along with racism comes a host of negative effects, including mental health problems. In this article, we will cover how racism is perpetuated in our society, provide some knowledge about how racism can increase someone’s risk of developing mental health problems, as well as provide tangible suggestions and resources to help you cope. Even if you have not personally experienced racism in your life, reading this
Senior Mental Health

Senior Mental Health

Today is World Senior Citizen’s Day. In honour of the occasion we thought we would share some information about mental health in older adults, things to look out for and how to best cope with mental health struggles in the later parts of life. Did You Know? By the year 2030, nearly 1 in 4 Canadians will be a senior. An individual’s likelihood of experiencing a mental health problem or illness increases from age 69
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Frightening situations happen to everyone at some point. People can react in many different ways: they might feel nervous, have a hard time sleeping well, or go over the details of the situation in their mind. These thoughts or experiences are a normal reaction. They usually decrease over time and the people involved can go back to their daily lives. Post-traumatic stress disorder, on the other hand, lasts much longer and can seriously disrupt a
A Guide For Parents Whose Children Identify As Transgender

A Guide For Parents Whose Children Identify As Transgender

Children are not born knowing what it means to be a ‘boy’ or a ‘girl’, they learn it. But, no two experiences of gender identity development are alike. For some, understanding their gender identity is a complex process that can last well into adolescence and adulthood. Many individuals feel their gender does not exist in a binary: boy or girl. Gender is more of a spectrum where individuals can express varying degrees of both masculinity
Your Kids Are Not Colourblind: How To Talk To Your Children About Race

Your Kids Are Not Colourblind: How To Talk To Your Children About Race

Did You Know? Babies recognize differences in skin colour and hair texture ( Rebecca Bigler via Parents Magazine). At birth, babies look equally at faces of all races, but by 3 months, babies look more at faces that match their caregivers (Kelly et al., 2005 via The Conscious Kid). In preschool, kids are already being treated differently based on their skin colour (Howard Stevenson via Vox). By the age of 4, children have already begun to show signs
Indigenous Culture and Mental Health

Indigenous Culture and Mental Health

Here in York Region and South Simcoe, we acknowledge the traditional land owners, the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples and that this community is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. Although these groups share many similarities, they each have their own distinct heritage, language, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs. Today in Canada, we are coming to grips with the turbulent and frequently
What Does It Mean To Be Trans, Non-Binary Or Gender Non-Conforming?

What Does It Mean To Be Trans, Non-Binary Or Gender Non-Conforming?

Pride is a celebration, but it began as a protest led by trans people of color. If we’re gonna talk pride, we need to talk about those who continue to be marginalized at higher rates than many other members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community: trans people. What does it mean to be trans, non-binary or gender non-conforming? It can mean a lot of things and it is different for every person. At the Beginning When we
Mental Health And Self-Care For Activists

Mental Health And Self-Care For Activists

“Caring For Myself Is Not Self-Indulgence, It’s Self-Preservation And That Is An Act Of Political Warfare.” ~ Audre Lorde As an activist, you play a crucial role in human rights and social justice. People who define themselves as activists are those who take action to change a problem that they see in the world.  However, along with this important role can also come a host of mental health problems including vicarious trauma and burnout. Although
Pride Month: How To Be An Ally

Pride Month: How To Be An Ally

It’s pride month!  For many identifying as 2SLGBTQ+ (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and the many diverse variations on these identities), pride is a time to celebrate identity- an identity that for many has led to experiences of bullying, family conflict and self-doubt.  The statistics tell us that 2SLGBTQ+ people are significantly more likely to experience anxiety, depression, substance misuse, homelessness and suicidal ideation than their hetero and cis gendered* counterparts (cis gender refers to when people’s gender identity matches what sex they
A Statement From Our CEO Rebecca Shields-Pride Month

A Statement From Our CEO Rebecca Shields-Pride Month

Dear Friends, June 1st marks the beginning of Pride Month. I read this from a news article by the BBC, June is the month chosen to celebrate pride as it was the month of the Stonewall riots, the protests that changed gay rights for a lot of people in America and beyond. It is about people coming together in love and friendship, to show how far gay rights have come, even if in some places there
Practicing Safe Social: Social Media And Your Mental Health

Practicing Safe Social: Social Media And Your Mental Health

It’s not a surprise that since the pandemic, the use of social media has risen dramatically. Facebook and Instagram have seen a 40% increase in usage since the start of the pandemic, while Twitter has 23% more users than it did a year ago. Additionally, in countries most hit by COVID-19, messages across the Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp platforms have increased by 50%. It makes sense that we are all using social media more. Since we
A Statement From Our CEO Rebecca Shields-Black Lives Matter

A Statement From Our CEO Rebecca Shields-Black Lives Matter

Today we stand in solidarity with all those affected by and grieving the recent murders of innocent members of the black community. For years we have sought to educate and build belonging and better care with our Cultural Competency and Trauma Informed Care Strategy. I can only think that there is so much more to be done and we will take action. In the near future, we commit to providing the community and our staff
Meditation And Mental Health

Meditation And Mental Health

Meditation is a great addition to add to your wellness toolbox on your quest to achieve better mental health. Although you’ve probably heard of meditation before, there is a lot of confusion over the the practice. According to Headspace, meditation is, “a formal exercise to cultivate awareness and compassion. By sitting with the mind, we’re training it to become more open and at ease, and we consequently discover great calm, clarity, contentment and compassion. In
Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention

Suicide. It’s a difficult topic to bring up. However, when someone talks about suicide or brings up concern for a loved one, it’s important to take action and seek help quickly. What is Suicide? Suicide means that someone ends their life on purpose. However, people who die by suicide or attempt suicide may not really want to end their life. Suicide may seem like the only way to deal with difficult feelings or situations. Who
Home First Food Security

Home First Food Security

Our Home First Community Support Program has stepped up in a big way to support clients during COVID-19, ensuring those receiving rent subsidies not only have a roof over their heads, but enough to eat as well. Partnering with the York Region Food Network, they requested that food drops be deemed an essential service, in order to meet a demand that has more than doubled since the start of the pandemic. Food security is an ongoing issue for
Postpartum Depression: What You Need To Know

Postpartum Depression: What You Need To Know

Bringing a new baby into the family can be challenging at the best of times, both physically and emotionally. It is natural for new parents to experience mood swings, feeling joyful one minute and depressed the next. These feelings are sometimes known as the “baby blues,” and often go away soon after birth. However, some parents may experience a deep and ongoing depression that lasts much longer. This is called postpartum depression. What is postpartum
It’s National Volunteer Week!

It’s National Volunteer Week!

CMHA York Region and South Simcoe has over 100 volunteers who are helping to make our mission, Mental Health for All, a reality. Last year alone they gave 5994 hours of their time to ensure the smooth running of our programs. And last June, a special group of 150+ volunteers gave an additional 750+ hours to help make our annual event #MentalHealthinMotion the best one yet. CMHA YR volunteers come from all walks of life,
Exams stressing you out? We’ve got you covered

Exams stressing you out? We’ve got you covered

As students prepare for exams, CMHA Ontario is reminding them to keep mental health in mind with some quick stress-management tips. Those struggling with low mood or anxiety can turn to CMHA Ontario’s free skill-building program BounceBack®: Reclaim your health to learn how to deal with stress, being overwhelmed, and more. Through BounceBack, adults and youth 15+ learn skills to help manage worry and anxiety, combat unhelpful thinking and become more active and assertive. BounceBack
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