Guest speakers share insight on mental health

The free lecture will be held in Trail at the Charles Bailey Theatre Thursday at 7 p.m.

A group dedicated to improving the health of Kootenay people is pulling back the stigma attached to mental health in a free lecture in Trail Thursday.

Bridging the Gap: Healthy Minds, Healthy Communities has invited guest speaker Donna Harker to share her reflections on her personal experience with depression and anxiety while trying to stay productive at work and Dr. Jehannine Austin, a leader in the genetics of psychiatric disorders.

“The idea is by coming together to learn about things relevant to all of our health in a common venue, we hope to learn about the medical side of the issues but also to open a dialogue about the underlining social issues involved in many chronic illnesses,” explained Jaime Frederick, Kootenay Boundary Division of Family Practice‘s continuing medical education coordinator.

“We feel that many people are not able to get the help that they need due to a complex interplay of social barriers and various stigmas against mental health and so by putting an event like this together we hope to increase our understanding of mental illness as a community and for the community as a whole.”

The Bridging the Gap committee is working towards broadening the community’s perspective on mental health.

The group is attempting to educate the public on their perspective, which is a healthy mind is essential to one’s overall mental and social well being.

“Mental health isn’t something you suffer from, mental health is actually a good thing,” said Fredrick. “We all slip out of healthy states occasionally and when we do it impacts how we see ourselves, how we interact with others and it affects our ability to contribute to our communities.

“We see it as a community issue, something that ideally people will want to learn more about.”

This is the second free educational event Bridging the Gap has hosted, the first being a lecture from Winlaw resident Warren MacDonald’s Challenge of Change.

The partnership is between the Kootenay Boundary Division of Family Practice, the Regional Medical Staff, the Canadian Mental Health Association, Teck, Inspiring Wellness and Learning Centre, Kootenay-Columbia School District 20 and the United Steel Workers Local 480.

The free lecture will be held in Trail at the Charles Bailey Theatre Thursday at 7 p.m (doors open at 6:30 p.m.). This follows Nelson’s on Wednesday at the Capitol Theatre at 7 p.m.

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