My Recipe: Jenna M Warren

Understand Us, the mental health initiative has started a campaign trend called Share Your Recipe as well as Vulnerable Is Beautiful. Ending the stigma against mental health is life changing, literally. After spending almost 27 years of my life with undiagnosed depression and anxiety, the battle wasn’t always easy, but I was always learning and sometimes barely surviving. Here’s my vulnerability.. I mean recipe.

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.

UnderstandUs teams w/ Regina Firefighters for Movember

Regina Firefighters and UnderstandUs have teamed up to raise awareness for mens mental health.  We created shirts to fundraise for mens mental health which sold out immediately.  We are very excited to be working with such a great group of individuals that are so committed to breaking the stigma of mens mental health.  Please show your support by donating or coming to the Movember party.

The Movember Party is Wednesday November 25 @ 7pm at the Rugby Club with a 20$ Ticket.

If you would like to donate to the Firefighters Movember team then follow the link below:

Donate to Movember

 

Naming the Elephant in the Room: Victoria Sutherland

 I have depression. There. I said it. Holy shit, the elephant in the room has been named! I won’t tell you that I suffer from it, but instead I’ll say I deal with it. Much like an addiction, admitting is the first step and it’s taken me two decades to finally do it. I, along with many other people had bought into the stigma. I spent 6 years obtaining a psych degree (yes, I see the irony in this) so I knew all about the signs, symptoms, treatments and knew that someone with depression isn’t broken or fucked up. Yet, I didn’t want to be labeled as someone with a mental illness. So, instead I gave excuses for my illness – “I’m just feeling down for some reason”, “it’s just a bad day/week/month”, “I’m fine but I just need some time away from everything”. Not once when I had an extreme reaction to a negative event did I think “hmm maybe this is something bigger.”

Team 20/20 Runs for youth mental health in Toronto

UnderstandUs is excited to sponsor team “20/20” in the RBC Run for the kids.   These individuals are located in Toronto and their view and care for youth mental health was so aligned with our vision that we are honoured to feature them on our site.  Please take a moment to donate to their team or share their stories on your social media outlets.

DONATE TO THE RUN

Karen Jacoby

Although I consider myself  philanthropic, the RBC Run for the Kids is the first cause I have personally championed and team I have captained. In partnering with ‘Understand Us’ I hope to not only bring awareness to youth mental health challenges locally but nationally. My recipe for bringing calm to my life is becoming active in charitable pursuits and setting goals to improve the world we live in and the people we share it with.

Michelle Tiangco and Matthew Lawrence
After a mentally exhausting day, our go to remedy is turning off all the lights and meditating. No cell phones, no talking, and most importantly breathe. It helps us feel grounded and in control when things around us are chaotic!

Susan Sun
As a teacher many of my students come from cultures that still view mental illness as invisible or non- existent. Their language barriers make it harder than ever to reach out. I wish every parent and teacher would look just a little harder to see the signs and every child would feel comfortable enough to open up. We all need to work together to reach the unreachable and understand. My recipe to destress and unwind is almost a ritualistic night routine of: imgur to see the humor, beauty and kindness of the world; one form of tea or another and a far fetched novel to escape into a different world.

Matthew Kim
My recipe for mental wellness is focusing my day by turning my phone on silent, plugging in my music and reading an inspiring book about some of my favourite sports legends.

Alexa Arquhard
This race and cause is important to me to create awareness and help for those in need like myself. I suffer from anxiety which has only become manageable through the right support and aid. I hope to bring solutions through the Sunnybrook Hospital Navigation Project to other children and families who are at the beginning of their process and make a difference in their health and quality of life. When I am feeling overwhelmed I focus my energy on physical activity- and preferably a good dance.

Yoga at the Park: Sol’s fitness & UnderstandUs

What: 1 hour yoga session to raise money for mental health.

When: Wednesday August 19 6pm – 7pm.

Where: The park behind Royal Saskatchewan Museum.

How:  Show up with friends and enjoy yourself.  Any donation is accepted but not mandatory.

Why: Sol’s fitness and UnderstandUs believe that mental health and physical health impact each other in positive ways.  We want to offer tools for everyone to live a happy and healthier life.

Thank you for your continued support.

Finally: Jenna Toms

As I am sitting at my desk sipping on my coffee, I realize I am smiling for no reason. I am sitting in total peace, completely content, and then I am overwhelmed by emotions. My mind starts racing and I begin to have flash backs from the last few years of my life. Over the course of those ten seconds of flashbacks and memories, I take a deep breath, and as I exhale, I say to myself, “Finally. Thank God, finally.”

Finally I can feel happiness. Finally I am not numb to everything around me. Finally I see how good I have it, how blessed I am and how far I have come. Finally I recognize how much love I am surround by daily. Finally I realize that I deserve to be loved. Finally I am capable of loving another with all my heart. Finally I truly love life.

Come see us this summer!

We are excited to be a part of 2 amazing events.

We will be setting up booths at:

The SaskTel friends festival Regina – Saturday July 25th City Square Plaza

Regina Folk Festival – Friday August 7 – Sunday August 9 Victoria Park

The Sasktel friends festival Saskatoon – Saturday August 22 Rivers Landing

Come see us to check out our new gear and get information on what we are up to!

 

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Share Your Recipe: Seven Stones

A group of fourth year nursing students from the Saskatchewan Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at the University of Regina were placed at Seven Stones Elementary School for their community rotation. They wanted to implement mental health into their educational time with the students. They narrowed in on this issue as being something that is not talked about enough in a positive way within the community and also a topic that many students struggle with.

 

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