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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Far from Easy gets huge response

The pilot project was designed for those who support others with a mental illness

John Postons and Jodie Matte offered two sessions of the Far from Easy support group to aid individuals supporting others with a mental illness.

by Sylene Argent  

Around 35 individuals have taken part in two separate “Far from Easy” support group workshops, hosted at the Essex Centre Library Branch, which discussed challenges, and opportunities, of supporting someone with a mental illness.

  The free sessions, Wednesday May 16 and 23, were part of a pilot program Jodie Matte of Art Space Essex, a club where members met regularly to relax and work on individual projects, and John Postons M.S.W., a local marriage and family counsellor, partnered to host for parents, spouses, children, siblings, friends, and co-workers of individuals dealing with a mental illness.

  Matte came up with the idea of the workshop and approached Postons about introducing a pilot project to the community to assist individuals supporting others with a mental health issue with information and how they could navigate through the mental health system.

  Postons liked the idea, especially since the workshop was scheduled in May, which is recognized as Mental Health Month.

  Initially, the pilot program was scheduled for one evening, as there was an overwhelming response from the community a second workshop was planned. The program may blossom into an on-going support group.

  The support group is about, “Bringing people together to validate it is far from easy to support someone with mental illness,” Postons said.

  He said the mental health system can be a maze to navigate, so part of the workshop focused on how individuals can get access to help, such as getting a diagnosis and where to find therapy. There were also discussions on individuals who may be in denial about having a mental health issue, stigmas that surround the topic, and how to best support those withmetal illness.

  While providing strategies, Postons pointed out that when it comes to mental health, there are no quick fixes. There also may be relapses.

  Most importantly, the workshops let individuals in these situations know, they are not alone, Postons commented. He also noted these supporters also need to take time for themselves to take a bit of a break.

  Those interested in the Far from Easy support group are urged to keep an eye on Art Space Essex’s blog or Facebook page for further information.

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