Canadian Mental Health Association

TRURO – It’s a huge milestone for the Canadian Mental Health Association this year as they celebrate 100 years of community.

Susan Henderson, the executive director of the Colchester-East Hants branch, said there are a number of events planned at the national level – including the upcoming Get Loud week – but she hopes to celebrate locally in a different way.

“I’m hoping our grand finale will be the opening of our new building,” she said, adding the branch was extremely close to triggering the mortgage on the former Bargain Shop property on Prince Street.

From May 7 to 13, the association celebrates with its Get Loud initiative, and Henderson said they’re still in the planning stages of any local events.

“We will be doing something, we’re just not sure what yet,” she said, noting the local branch has been around for roughly 110 years.

There will be an open house on May 2, 10 a.m.-noon, at the branch’s office, located at 574 Prince Street. Light refreshments will be served.

Leading up to Get Loud, local Zumba co-instructors Crystal Mills and Raissa Tetanish are hosting an event in support of the association’s local branch.

“The goal behind it is to bring more than 100 people together,” said Mills. “When we learned it was the 100th anniversary of the mental health association, it really clicked. Considering the population of the community, aiming for 100 people was a no-brainer.”

Mills, who has been instructing the Latin-inspired dance fitness class for the past nine years, knows first-hand what music and dancing can do for one’s mental health.

“To me, it’s about fun and fitness. On a personal level, I manage PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and anxiety. I don’t suffer from it, I manage it. And Zumba plays a big part of my life. Music was always a go-to personal thing for me. It’s my little happy pill.”
Henderson said she and other representatives of the local branch will be on-site at the event, promoting the services they offer and talking about mental health.

“There’s evidence that playing music lessens pain,” Henderson said. “For people with Alzheimer’s and dementia, one thing that gets them excited and moving is music.”

Henderson said many people, when they become ill, think they have to go to the hospital and be put on medications. But, she said, there’s more to it than that.

“There are other options than taking medications,” she said. “This event is a tremendous opportunity to create awareness and understand the various components of good mental health.”
The event, titled 100 Zumba’ers for Mental Health, will run from 9:30 a.m. to noon on April 21 at the Nova Scotia Community College Truro campus gymnasium. Admission is by donation and the event will feature instructors from various parts of the province, as far away as Yarmouth. All ages and skill level are welcome. There will be a 50/50 draw and prizes to be won, with 100 per cent of the proceeds going to the mental health association branch.