Empathy is the theme for the CMHA’s 71st annual Mental Health Week, which runs from May 2-8 this year, and there are events planned for everyone in the Cowichan community.
“As human beings, we share an ability to imagine what life is like for someone else. To see the world as others see it. To look through someone else’s eyes. To climb inside and walk around in their skin,” said a press release issued by Cowichan Valley Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association. “When someone is struggling, they don’t always need someone to swoop in and fix things for them. First, they need someone to understand where they’re coming from.”
Now that COVID restrictions have been lifted, the Cowichan Valley Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association is planning a service day and two open houses during Mental Health Week.
Unhoused and marginally housed members of the community in need of clothing, a haircut, or a hotdog and drink, can drop by Warmland House on Lewis Street Monday, May 2 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. for the CMHA’s Service Day.
Then, on Tuesday, May 3, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., there’s an open house at BikeWorks on Festubert Street. Members of the community, school and community groups, local merchants and anyone else interested in learning about the CMHA’s child and youth programs are invited.
Finally, on Wednesday, May 4, merchants, community members and neighbours are invited to tour the Warmland House shelter and meet management, staff, board members and volunteers. That runs run 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“For Mental Health Week this year, we can #GetReal about how to help,” said the release. “We may be different, but that doesn’t make us rivals. Let’s stop polarizing and start empathizing. Let’s be there for each other when times are hard and be ready to listen. You don’t have to agree to understand, and you don’t have to fix it to help.”
The Cowichan Valley’s CMHA branch is also holding a fundraising drive in support of a safe space and programs to support Cowichan’s homeless youth. The goal is to raise $500,000.
“There is currently no shelter for youth under 19. At a time in their lives when youth need stability, direction and support, they have none,” said the release. “Some have aged out of care, left unhealthy family situations, some have disabilities and many have trauma we can’t imagine. Some turn to substances to ease the pain.”
Money raised will be put toward a safe place for youth to drop in. All donations over $20 will receive a tax receipt and monthly donations are also welcome.
For more information visit www.cmhacowichanvalley.com