Community

Items & Ego: Cassie-Jo Shadlock

This morning I was driving downtown. I was at a red light on Garry St. I looked to my left & saw a man sitting on the step of a building and it was apparent he was homeless. No, he wasn’t begging or “bothering” anyone as some people may call it. He was keeping to himself, head down, fading into the background, as it was apparent he was telling himself he deserved to do.

What I will say is that he was a human being & it broke my heart into a million pieces to see the look in his eyes. He could barely stand to make eye contact with anyone for fear of being judged, not belonging to society, or just wanting to disappear.

How do we look at another human being like that & not feel anything? We find every reason to tell ourselves that this is just the way it is. 

You can find all of his faults, call him weak, or judge what he may have done to get there.  You may lump him into an category based on our own fear of unfortunate circumstances or the racism we have come to find far too normal. All in an attempt to make us feel better about our own demons.

I was on my way to a job that I love, freshly showered, after starting my day with a hug from my mom & my belly full of breakfast. Can you imagine living any other way than you are now, cutting your privileges down to a quarter & still trying to appreciate the gift of life?

Some good friends and I were given an opportunity to come back from vulnerable situations and not let a dark path become permanent. We had love and support throughout our journey but some people aren’t always given that privilege.

I am grateful everyday, but especially today for being here, a life not based on the quality or quantity of items & ego.

I am thankful that I have seen this man & the many men/women out there, who (we have to remember) are not just versions of someone who “once was” important at one time in their lives. All I ask is the next time you see someone in the state that this gentleman was, try & change your thought pattern!

We can use some love right now,  All of us!

UnderstandUs University has begun!

Our Annual Event is here!

LettersToNoOne-poster 2

Hitchhikers Improv Presents: Embrace the Unusual

We are so excited to support Hitchhikers Improv group on their quest to acknowledge and improve mental health in our community.

This amazing and talented group of individuals share many beliefs that we value as an organization:

  • Vulnerability is the first step to improving your mental health.
  • Passion and art can act as a healthy outlet for improving yourself.
  • Who you surround yourself with becomes your support system and your influencer.
  • Sometimes the people who strive to entertain others may be the ones who need the support themselves.

Check out the video below and visit their website for any upcoming shows.

Hitchhikers Website

 

Stories behind our clothing

Our clothing has always been deeply rooted in the vision of our initiative.  It is not only a way for someone to show visual support to the mental health community but acts as a conversation starter.  Our clothing is more than just fashion; the stories behind the designs aim to be impactful.

Our clothing is available now at ‘Soles of Whitmore’ on Albert St in Regina.

Join the conversation.

 

The Window: Marcia Fisher

In a reaction to the loss of a loved one, I decided to switch gears within my practice and focus on creating pieces that allowed myself to work through the grief. This work took shape and resulted in The Window: multiple weavings which are all roughly 6’ in length. The weaving process was repetitive and therefore held a meditative quality. This work has as much emphasis on the process as its concept; though the completed work is a physical representation of the internal battle of a loss, the process is what guided me through the grief in real time.

The strong importance of this process came to me only after the work was completed. Through reflection, I saw that The Window was an important step towards facing what I did not want to; in the weeks between losing my loved one and beginning the weaving process, I inadvertently kept myself busy with activities which would not bring up thoughts of the loss. Starting and following through with the weavings put a personal pressure on dealing with every aspect of my grief. It was my personal method for nursing the emotional exhaustion I felt.

 

A loss never leaves you. It is possible that it becomes more comfortable and familiar to your being, but it never leaves you. These pieces stand for what cannot be put to words. They stand for what is gone, but not lost. It is a physical recognition of the internal struggle that cannot be seen to the outside observer. It is a meditation on loss and a material representation of the ability to come to terms with it. It is an attempt to put to materiality what cannot be seen or touched, but is certainly present. It is an ode to the elusive, deep understanding that the loss of a loved one is only a physical loss.

Marcia Fisher

A Community we want to be a part of!

At UnderstandUs we have been blessed to have the support of the Regina community in our quest to improve the understanding of those with mental health barriers.  We could not exist without generous donations from businesses and organizations.  I would like to personally thank everybody for their continuous support, whether it is purchasing our clothing to support, sharing our messages to friends and family on social media, or making a donation to our cause.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

We are seeking funding for our 2017 initiatives and I am very excited to show Saskatchewan what were up to next.  Stay tuned.

Jim Demeray

UnderstandUs.

Canadian Mental Health Association Week

Check out these great Events for the Canadian Mental Health Association Week.  UnderstandUs is a proud supporter of the CMHA and are excited to be a part of these events.

 

Let’s Talk: Braedon McLeod

This is an important day for many, many people, including myself.#BellLetsTalk day is a chance to start a conversation about something that affects millions of Canadians — and people around the world — every single day.

My struggle with mental illness, namely anxiety, started in the fall of 2014 at Thanksgiving dinner with my family. Out of nowhere I just felt trapped, scared, and like I couldn’t breathe. I’d never experienced something like it before. It lasted for 17 hours. I had to miss work the next morning, which snowballed into me being fired from my job. Since then, there are some days where I’m short of breath, stuck in my own head, and constantly worried that everything is out to get me. There are some days, too, that I am completely content and ready to tackle the day ahead. You don’t know when it will rear its ugly head. It just does.

A little more about how it affects me. I’ve had times where I’ll be driving from Saskatoon to Regina. Suddenly I’ll feel panicked and like I am in immediate danger. My chest will tighten. I’ll feel trapped and like I’m going to pass out at any moment. Seemingly irrational to you; very real — in the moment — to me.

One thing I’ve learned though, is that it all passes. I feel like I’m dying in the moment, but it passes.

I would not be able to battle this alone, and I am thankful every day for the support group that I have.

Bell Lets Talk Day 2016

UnderstandUs Speaks for Bell Let’s Talk

Today, Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives for every:

  • Text message sent*
  • Mobile & long distance call made*
  • Tweet using #BellLetsTalk
  • Share of the Facebook image

UnderstandUs Headquarters: Open for business

We are excited to launch our headquarters at 2151 Albert st.  We will be open every Saturday from 12pm-5pm.  Come by and learn about our organization, pick up some resources to hand out, purchase some gear, or volunteer for the upcoming year.  Everyone is welcome.

Our office is the last office on the left side.

UnderstandUs: Where does the money go?

As a charitable organization that was simply begun by a group of passionate individuals, we often get questions from our community regarding where donations of money and manpower are going towards. At the end of the 2014-2015 fiscal year, we sought to be able to provide these answers to our valued supporters. So, we analyzed where money was spent in the previous year, and what it was going towards in order to move our cause forward. As with any non-profit, generating clarity around what exactly our money is spent on is important to us and those who support us.