By Deirdre Dwyer & Patricia Auchnie
A new program sponsored by the Tri-Community CAST (Communities Addressing Suicide Together) Coalition will be providing navigation to mental health resources and compassionate listening with peers for the people of the Eastern shore. The Coalition announced the new Mental Wellness Outreach Project on November 27 at the Old School in Musquodoboit Harbour.
There will be two Mental Wellness Outreach Coordinators staffing this six-month pilot program, which will run from November 2018 to April 2019. The team’s role is focused on bringing awareness to the ways we can maintain or achieve mental wellness. The project takes a holistic approach to health and will engage employers, individuals and families on the Eastern Shore (Ecum Secum to Lake Echo) and the Musquodoboit Valley in discussions on mental wellness and addiction.
The two Community Outreach Coordinators are Anita Carter-Rose, and Deirdre Dwyer with Patricia Auchnie leading the project from a Social Work lens. Auchnie’s company, Nova Salutem, which means “New Health”, is focused on the provision of mental health and addiction services and advises organizations on psychological health and safety in the workplace. Carter-Rose is the founder of Eastern Shore Mental Health.
As coordinators, we are familiar with mental wellness and addiction struggles. We offer brief, non-judgmental support for mental wellness and addiction conversations, resource counseling, and help identifying individual needs and pathways to meet these needs.
We also provide individual and groups sessions to explore and motivate people towards participation in wellness opportunities, including self-care. The sessions could be participatory “Lunch & Learns” with employers, one-on-one discussions over the phone, or meetings in person with individuals or with families in community. We work to ensure that people can safely share their experiences and challenges with us as supportive, nonjudgmental, compassionate listeners.
The project also includes the collection of basic wellness data and demographic information so that we can monitor the outcomes of the work. We will produce reports based on qualitative and quantitative data collected with informed consent --without any personal identifiers or names.
We will use this data to build a profile of needs and to advocate for more community-based services for this area. We will be seeking out partnerships with health professionals, peers, and businesses for ongoing evaluation of the program. If you, your employer, or your organization is interested in participating in this project, please contact the Mental Wellness Outreach Coordinators at 1-833-851-5320or at [email protected].