Healthy Mind, Healthy Body, Healthy Spirit – in Coaticook
When you live in an area like the Coaticook MRC where the Englishspeaking population is a little small at around 11.6%, it’s sometimes assumed that health and social services, in English, may be hard to find. In order to dispel this myth and have some fun at the same time, last Wednesday, Townshippers’ Association hosted an allday event at Coaticook’s
Pavillon des Arts, calling it “Healthy Mind, Healthy Body, Healthy Spirit”.
During the morning, the audience of about thirty heard about local services directly from those service providers, beginning with Judy Ross from Mental
Health Estrie, which is based in Lennoxville but provides services to the entire Estrie area. Getting closer to home, Lynn Lacroix of the L’Eveil organization, a mental health community resource based in Coaticook, spoke in French about her organization’s services. Many of those activities, like art workshops, yoga and walking groups, although presented primarily in French, are also open to the English population and can easily be enjoyed in
any language. Ms. Lacroix also stressed that, at L’Eveil, there was one intervener who could speak in English with English clients and that group activities, in English, could be organized for groups as small as two or three.
Patrick Morin, of the Coaticook CAB, spoke about the availability of English services at that organization. “There is always someone on the team who can speak English. We have no group services in English right now because there is no demand. But for something like a Community Kitchen, you only need three or four English people; we once had a Community Kitchen group in English.” The Coaticook CAB is beginning an important project to reach all seniors living in isolation and Mr. Morin commented how they needed the help of the English community for this. The goal is to make sure these seniors are aware of all the services and government financial supplements and tax credits that are available to them.
Lennoxville and District Community Aid serves a part of the Coaticook MRC, the municipality of Waterville, and so Director Sylvie Fowlis introduced her organization. “We mainly provide services to seniors so they can stay at home as long as possible. We have about five hundred clients and about two hundred volunteers,” she explained. Ms. Fowlis also mentioned the possibility of working with the Coaticook CAB in the future so that English people from the Coaticook area might take part in something like the Caregivers Support Group offered in English at Lennoxville and District Community Aid.
Micheline Demers was one of several health professionals from the CSSS Coaticook who introduced themselves and their services to the audience. “We can help with teen problems, when couples are getting on each other’s nerves, mediation, couple’s therapy, grief counseling, all kinds of abuse, and we have services for people with ADD,” said Ms. Demers, giving just a few examples of some health and social problems that people can get help dealing with.
The final speaker of the morning was Dr. Natasha Bird who, judging from the comments around the coffee urn seemed to be the doctor of almost everyone in the room. Dr. Bird spoke about how the treatment of people suffering from mental illness had changed drastically over the last thirty years, thankfully, for the better. “People diagnosed with a mental illness would end up disappearing – going to Sherbrooke…These people can now stay our neighbours and they’re not put aside in a back room. It’s very gratifying to see this as a doctor,” said Dr. Bird, who also works with the CSSS-IUGS and has been recognized for her work with homeless people. “The English community has suffered and we’re fewer in number. We used to take care of ourselves but with less people now, we must turn to others. I hope you will ask for help if you need it; we’re all vulnerable,” Dr. Bird concluded. “I feel that this is a ‘WOO WOO’ moment – Dr. Bird you’re living proof that things have changed!” added Judy Ross.
By the time the last presenter had finished speaking, the Townshippers’ Association’s staff members who had helped organize the event, Debbie Bishop, Shannon Keenan and Eric Manolson, had set out a buffet lunch for everyone. After lunch, which was enjoyed to the live music of Jan Graham, the audience took part in an art workshop to create mandalas animated by Shannon Brown.
Some of the presenters at last Wednesday’s event in Coaticook were (l. to r.) Judy Ross of Mental Health Estrie, Sylvie Fowlis of the Lennoxville & District Community Aid, Dr. Natasha Bird, social worker Cynthia Pelletier and other health care providers from the CSSS Coaticook.