It is Mental Health Week, and the Weyburn Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association hosted the Annual Mayor's Luncheon today at McKenna Hall, with Master of Ceremonies Jamie Blunden, CMHA Weyburn Board Chair; and special guests, Weyburn's Mayor Marcel Roy; Britton Houdek, Director of Mental Health and Addictions Southeast (SHA); Trevor Gates, Executive Director for CMHA SK Division; and the Spirit Singers with a performance of 'You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown'. 

Marcel RoyWeyburn's Mayor Marcel Roy offered greetings, here with M.C. Jamie Blunden. 

Britton Houdek shared that one in five Canadians will struggle with a mental health problem in a given year. 

"It is likely that someone we know, or ourselves, has struggled with a mental health problem. While those struggling with mental health are undergoing what can be a very personal journey of wellness, it is our responsibility as husbands, wives, coworkers, and community members to be there with understanding and with kindness."

"Engaging in events such as this increases our awareness, provides further knowledge and information, while reducing the stigma for those on their own personal journeys."

"This week is recognized by the CMHA as Mental Health Week and I want to extend a special thank you to everyone who has made it to their goal to learn more about mental health and mental health well-being." 

She continued, "Our corner of the province is extremely lucky to have organizations such as CMHA Weyburn and our Saskatchewan Health Authority Mental Health team, as well as all of our community-based organizations that support mental health and well-being."

"'A call to compassion' is not just understanding, but also letting those living with mental health problems know they are not alone. We must share hope, resilience, and optimism for today, and for all the days moving forward." 

Trevor Gates said he looks at mental health as three things: mental health, mental illness, and mental wellness. 

"I think we talk about them interchangeably, and I'm not sure that that's right. I think where sometimes we mean certain things and we're talking about them in different ways and how they affect certain families," he shared. "I've worked with lots of families in my previous positions, and sometimes I've seen sickness in families, when families pull together and do that, and look after one another. I've also some mental health and mental illness do the exact opposite, where families have really struggled to be together and provide support for one another."

Gates pointed out that many look at mental health as an individual issue, but he believes there is also such a thing as community mental health.

"So what's mental health in the community? How do we look at this as a group, and how are we providing that compassion and a safe space for people to actually get help and kind of talk? When I see this and a room full of people like that, I think I see that community mental health looks very good here and I'm excited to be a part of it."

The performance by the Spirit Singers had its own message of mental health and support, which was portrayed through acting and singing, with themes like feeling down on oneself as Charlie Brown often does, or having attachments like Linus to his blanket, and focusing on doing things that make you happy. The message was clear: everyone is different, and we can all have better days if we connect with others, our pets, and ourselves.



The Spirit Singers, directed by Kendra Gonczy and accompanied by Colleen Weimer, are: Donald Alexander, Brittany Barber, Natalie Butz, Calla Hrynewich, Camden Husband, Emerson Jack, Tauren Jack, Brinlee Klapak, and Jyllian Payak. The group will be heading to New York city soon to perform at Carnegie Hall. They are also going to be putting on performances this weekend of 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat". Read more HERE.

"Let your smile change the world, but don't let the world change your smile" - Charlie Brown.

In 2023-24, the CMHA Weyburn Branch worked directly with more than 90 people through its programs and services. They have reached thousands of people through presentations and events, and have served over 1,400 meals in their centre, and have distributed more than 5,500 resources through awareness initiatives.

The theme for this year's Mental Health Week is Compassion Connects - A Call to be Kind.