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Lifting the veil on mental health in the Townships

May 9, 2013

Mental Health Estrie Executive Director Judy Ross shows off donations to the Walk in my Shoes HUGS program, including nine boxes of scarves knit by Butler Elementary students and community members through an Établissements verts Brundtland (EVB) initiative to think globally and act locally. Photo: Matthew McCully.

National Mental Health Week provided Townshippers with an opportunity to shine a light on issues that often remain in the dark.
“Nobody in Knowlton suffers from depression or mental illness,” joked Linda Ransom, a Knowlton resident who openly struggles with depression. She has hosted a support group in Knowlton for 16 years, inviting people to gather to discuss their struggles, and share their successes. The meetings are held discreetly, because Ransom believes the stigma associated with mental illness still prevents people from coming forward and seeking treatment. “Nobody wants to talk about it,” she said.
As Ransom sees it, illnesses that manifest physically are unavoidable, and usually dealt with openly, but mental illness is something people can’t see; and people don’t understand what they can’t see. She suggested people are more likely to put up a front than talk about how they are really feeling. “The statistics are there,” she said, “most suffer in silence and don’t get the help they need.”
Tim Wisdom is a Counselor at L’Éveil, located in Cowansville. It is a community resource that works to maintain the social reintegration in the community of people suffering from mental health problems. Wisdom does one-on-one counselling in French and English, and also assists with referrals.
“The worst thing to do is not talk about it,” Wisdom said. He insisted that breaking the taboo is important, saying that as many as one in four people are likely to develop a mental illness at some point in their lifetime. In addition to counseling, Wisdom has a radio show on CIDI, where he discusses a different mental health-related topic each month, and occasionally invites guests to share their experiences.

See the entire article Friday in The Record

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