THUNDER BAY – The 2023 Mental Health Matters event connected mental health professionals and residents of Thunder Bay on Saturday in hopes of raising awareness for mental health in the city.
Linda Kelly, CEO of Kelly Mental Health, the clinic that organized the event, says that discussions like these are important in fostering a healthy community.
“We have gotten quite a number of organizations to come together to talk about the gaps in mental health services,” she said.
“And also, just to bring a lot of people together that care about workplace wellness, recognizing that mental health affects us all and trying to work together to come up with skills and strategies and things that can help the people around Thunder Bay.”
Kelly says that one of the topics she wanted to bring up at the event is the importance of recognising when help is needed such as when someone may be struggling with dementia, depression, or, anxiety..
“People have a difficult time reaching out because a lot of times they think well, it doesn't apply to me, it's only the most sick people,” she said.
“But it's not, it's all of us and if more people are always aware of what needs to be done to take care of ourselves, our community gets better. We all become more of the people we want to be.”
Kelly says that a big portion of the event is to bring to light the disconnect in mental health services in Thunder Bay that allows people fall through the cracks due to gaps between services.
“I think part of that is just the way that our healthcare system is set up: we have a split sometimes between public and private, there isn't enough room in the public system to accommodate all the private practitioners that are here,” she said.
“People can't often afford private services, and there's still a stigma around seeking mental health services, there's still this feeling that only people that are really sick should go and get the help, but it doesn't have to be that.”