Expo continues the conversation on mental health

Expo continues the conversation on mental health
DUNNVILLE—Shown from left, JJ Arnold, Patrick Field-Dodge, and Denise Henderson shared their personal stories at the 2019 Mental Health Wellness Expo in hopes to help others dealing with any sort of mental illness. —Haldimand Press photos by Cassandra Fleet.

By Cassandra Fleet

The Haldimand Press

DUNNVILLE—It was a busy day at the Dunnville Comunity Lifespan Centre on January 30, 2019 as over 200 residents came together to support the third annual Mental Health Wellness Expo. Twenty-seven community support services had booths set up including CAMHS, Senior Support Services, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and many more.

“We are here and we’re really hoping to show the community that, because we need their help in order to continue providing these amazing services to youth. I’m hoping we can partner with local organizations to be able to get our presence known and educate the community on what we actually provide,” said Melissa Pollard, Executive Director for Big Brothers, Big Sisters.

Throughout the day, seven workshop presentations were put on including Grief Recovery, Trauma & PTSD, and Laughter Yoga. During the ‘Ruling Your Illness’ session, three local residents got up to share their stories. JJ Arnold shared his story of being diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder Type 1. Since finding out, he’s been living each day trying to better himself. He has almost completed his course to become a support worker.


Award presentation
DUNNVILLE—Sandie Heirwegh, Executive Director of True Experience presented Denise Henderson with a certificate of appreciation for sharing her story.

Patrick Field-Dodge was diagnosed with schizophrenia. At first, he thought the voices in his head were normal, maybe a sign of telepathy. After a few hospital visits, he learned the voices were a sign of his diagnosis. He’s now learned to keep a positive outlook on life, and that makes those voices give happy thoughts as well.

Last up was Denise Henderson, who has had a long battle with depression and addictions.

“I knew there was something wrong when I jumped out of a moving car. That’s not normal,” shared Henderson. Now three years sober, she is looking forward and hoping to give back. “I’d like to be an addictions councillor so I can help those like myself, but I know that’s a way off still.”

If you or someone you know are struggling with a mental health disorder, reach out to your local support services or call Haldimand Norfolk CAST’s toll free number at 1-866-487-CAST (2278), available 24/7, for crisis support.

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