Men­tal health steps fur­ther out of the shad­ows in 2018

Northern Pen - - Sports - BY JONATHAN PAR­SONS THE PACKET CLARENVILLE, N.L.

In re­cent years, so­ci­ety has al­ready taken great strides in bet­ter un­der­stand­ing and ad­dress­ing the needs of our men­tal health dur­ing chang­ing times.

How­ever, ev­ery day we are faced with more and more chal­lenges from ill­nesses and dis­or­ders that have long been ne­glected and swept un­der the rug.

Specif­i­cally, through­out 2018, the Town of Clarenville has come to­gether on sev­eral oc­ca­sions to for­mally ad­dress men­tal health is­sues in the com­mu­nity and how they can Donna Han­cock.

be dealt with.

In Bonavista, great in­vest­ments were made for a Well­ness Cen­tre to be shared by Tip-AVista Well­ness Foun­da­tion and Eastern Health, as an epi­cen­tre for healthy liv­ing – men­tally, phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally –

in the re­gion. Not to men­tion, there have been count­less fundrais­ers, com­mu­nity events and ser­vices that have pro­vided the help­ing hand needed for many who are suf­fer­ing.

In Au­gust, I sat down for an in­ter­view with Clarenville woman Donna Han­cock – the or­ga­nizer of an an­nual walk to re­mem­ber RCMP Cpl. Trevor O’Keefe, who took his life last year.

While Donna’s ef­forts to com­bat men­tal ill­ness and PTSD are as­tound­ing on their own, she

pro­ceeded to share her own story, in­clud­ing over­com­ing abuse, de­pres­sion and de­spair.

Donna’s strength in not only over­com­ing her own strug­gles – through vi­tal help from peo­ple like O’Keefe – but also her abil­ity to speak pub­licly about her strug­gles and be­come a true ad­vo­cate for men­tal health and first re­spon­ders is as­tound­ing.

Donna’s story has a last­ing im­pact per­tain­ing to our men­tal health and showed how in­spi­ra­tional she is to ev­ery­one in our com­mu­ni­ties.

JONATHAN PAR­SONS/THE PACKET

Jonathan Par­sons

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