Mental Health Awareness Week kicks off Monday, May 1, and runs until May 7. While the awareness week is in its 72nd year there is a new addition to the event. For its second year, the Creating Connection Green Door Hangers are back and will be delivered to every home in Weyburn, a joint partnership between the Weyburn Police Service and the Canadian Mental Health Association.
The project was the brainchild of Constable Melinda Mintenko, a patrol officer for over 20 years.
“COVID times have hit us, and as I was cruising around, I got thinking about all the changes in the community and all the people that are struggling and how our addictions in our city have risen. And I was thinking about citizens that we've lost and how many times I go to calls and people don't know our local resources and it was all just resonating with me. And I thought about how I wanted to draw the community together and help people recognize that Weyburn, even though we are small, we have support services and that everything is right here to access. So, my idea was to do something to help remember those that we lost in our community, and to also get support service resources, phone numbers, and such to the community,” explained Constable Mintenko.
Mintenko shared her idea with her superiors and was encouraged to reach out to Tasha Collins, Program Director of Weyburn’s Branch, Canadian Mental Health Association.
The door hangers contain the phone numbers and websites of several local resources as well as QR codes.
“We created the QR code and that QR code directs a person to our website, and our website has a much more extensive list of resources that a person could reach out to if they were struggling,” shared Collins.
The door hangers are proving to be effective even for those who live outside of the area.
“Last year, Melinda did receive a phone call from a traveler who was coming through and he was staying at the hotel and called Melinda and just, you know, reached out and said this is such a great initiative and every hotel should have something like this because people that are using hotels are traveling and sometimes that traveling gets lonely,” continued Collins.
While on a call Mintenko also received positive feedback on the initiative.
“I have had a citizen who was struggling with drug addiction, and I went to a call to help them and at the end of the call when everything was calm, they actually spoke to me because they heard about the initiative. And as we stood there, we looked across the street and we saw a green door. And they looked at me, and then they said that that meant a lot to them, and to me right there the program was a complete success. That is why we encourage you guys to hang these on your front door,” shared Mintenko.
In addition to the green door hangers, there are the clings, which can be placed on a mirror or window. The clings provide the same information as the door hangers.
“These window clings are throughout the community, and it was just a way to have them seen all year round, and so that's where the window clings came from,” added Collins. “We've had many positive conversations about the initiative and if people have feedback or they want to share a story, please reach out to me at CMHA, we would love to know if there's a way that we can improve the initiative or extend the initiative in any way.”
The green door hangers will be distributed to every home throughout the community through Weyburn This Week.