If you are a member of Lanark County Mental Health (LCMH) or other treatment programs and have Friday afternoon free, you may find the Mental Wellness Room your new Friday destination. The Room is designed as a friendly, supportive space for people living with mental illness to socialize, relax or chat with others who are in similar circumstances. People are encouraged to stop by; play a board game, watch a movie or share victories/frustrations from their week.
The Mental Wellness Room, which opened on Friday, Oct. 13, is located at the Carambeck Community Centre in Carleton Place. It is a grassroots initiative designed to reach out to others living with mental illness. The organizers feel that people need a place to go to socialize and connect. They believe that there should be more venues available for socializing with peers and that it is important for people to have a safe space to share and be understood.
Organizers took the idea for this social room and looked for locations for several months, but immediately stepped out when the room at Carambeck Community Centre became an option, and created this space, paying expenses out of their own pockets.
Some of the volunteers in the Room received peer support training made possible by a grant from the Bell “Let’s Talk” Community Fund in 2015. Peer support is based on the premise that people who have overcome adversity can offer their experience and support to others that are facing similar circumstances.
The Room is meant to be a safe space in the community and in order for it to remain that way and achieve it’s goal of getting those with mental health issues to connect with others, anyone who visits the Room is asked to use discretion in revealing personal information they hear during their visit.
As this is a new venture, it is hard to say what the interest will be from the community. The organizers have their sights set on larger spaces should the demand require bigger accommodations, but as it currently self-funded, money could be an issue. The organizers could certainly benefit from outside contributions to help cover costs for this labour of love. A portion of the first week’s refreshments were donated and the balance of all other expenses were paid personally by the organizers.
Drop by on Fridays to join the conversation in the Mental Wellness Room. Hours are 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Carambeck Community Centre or you can email David at firstname.lastname@example.org
This was first published in the November issue of Hometown News. Read more of the November issue online.