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Efforts underway for a drop-in mental health wellness centre in Digby

Tri County Mental Health and Wellness has officially opened its drop-in centre at 101 Water Street, which also includes the launch of the Aidaen Mae Wellness Room. TINA COMEAU PHOTO
Tri County Mental Health and Wellness has officially opened its drop-in centre at 101 Water Street, which also includes the launch of the Aidaen Mae Wellness Room. An effort is underway to try and have a similar type drop-in centre in Digby. TINA COMEAU PHOTO
DIGBY, N.S. —

Ideally – because there know there’s a need – their timeline would have been yesterday.
Wishfully – if they already had a space with the community onboard – their timeline to be tomorrow.
Realistically – although there is no set timeline as of yet – the goal and hope is sooner than later.
Efforts are underway in Digby to open a mental wellness drop-in centre similar to one that was recently officially opened in Yarmouth.
The centre in Yarmouth is an initiative of Tri County Mental Health and Wellness and the group in Digby is working with the tri-county group, and its founder Brenda Martin-Hurlburt, to offer something similar in the Digby area.
“We’re looking for space and we’re looking for donations, that’s where we are right now,” says Julie McFayden, community outreach coordinator with the Bear River Legion, and also a social worker. She and two others – Shawnalynn Cromwell, a peer support outreach specialist; and Laurel Alexander, a mental health advocate  – connected with Martin-Hurlburt a few months ago and have been undertaking a course in preparation for an eventual centre.
The centre in Yarmouth is striving to provide individual coaching and support, recovery group programs, wellness workshops, community education, suicide prevention and awareness, and stigma reduction when it comes to mental health and wellness. The Yarmouth centre also has a special drop-in space, named the Aidaen Mae Wellness Room, for youth aged 12 to 15.
In Digby, the women say they are hoping to secure a donated space for a centre; or, since they don’t have access to funding, a space that is funded by the community. The centre in Yarmouth has also benefited from a lot of community support through donations and volunteer efforts and it is hoped the same thing will happen in Digby.
Laurel Alexander says what they really hope to achieve is to have a space and to be able to spread awareness. Any drop-in location will be peer support.
“That has to be driven home. This is not treatment, but it is peer support. It is somewhere to go in the interim, because I think it’s widely known and talked about that there are geographical gaps and time gaps when you have waiting times for treatment,” she says. 
The centre would provide support to people of all ages but the women say there could be needs identified whereby there could be some programs and services targeted towards certain age groups.
Most importantly is to have a place where people feel safe, that is non-threatening and to helps to break down stigmas. 
The three women all have some background in mental health and wellness and they want to share this with the community.
Individually, they’ve all had the passion. Collectively, they are working to bring it all together to be able to offer something more effectively. 

CONTACTS

Can you help with these efforts?

Julie McFayden: Email Address: jujutoo42@gmail.com

Laurel Alexander: Email Address: brmentalhealth@gmail.com

Shawnalynn Cromwell: Email Address:  smc.newday@gmail.com

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