Talking mental health in Bay Roberts

Event held in conjunction with Bell Let's Talk

Nicholas Mercer
Published on January 27, 2016
Bay Roberts economic development officer Ron Delaney (left) and Coun. Wade Oates fry up some toutons as a part of "Toutons, Talking and Texting" held at the Bay Roberts Visitor's Pavilion on Jan. 27. The event was undertaken by the   Town of Bay Roberts, Eastern Health and Communities Against Violence.
Photo by Nicholas Mercer/The Compass

The signs on the wall of the Bay Roberts Visitors Pavilion Wednesday morning read like the daily planner of no one in particular.


They list things like “zumba”, “morning coffee” and “walking in nature.”  Any other day, there might be dates and times associated with those activities.

Not today, however, as they take on a different meaning than words on a page or a list of daily activities. There are other — simpler — actions listed as well. Things like “smile” and “laughing” are sometimes taken for granted.

When you look deeper and consider what day it is, the words take on a different meaning. They stop being just things that people do and start becoming ways to alleviate stress and right yourself mentally.

“Today is a day about learning ways to practice good mental health every day,” said Tracey Sharpe-Smith, Eastern Health’s regional addictions prevention consultant.

All of this was a part of a breakfast dubbed “Toutons, Talking and Texting,” an event co-promoted by the Town of Bay Roberts, Eastern Health and Communities Against Violence.

“We’re here today as a community to help promote positive mental health and to reduce the stigma that surrounds mental health and addictions,” said Sharpe-Smith. “Bell Lets Talk is one of those campaigns that we can join into at a regional level, a provincial level and a national level.

“We can come together and have conversations about positive mental health. Days like today remind us that there are days when we practice really good mental health and some days we’re not so good.”

The idea is to promote mental health in an attempt to erase many stigmas that still exist it. The event sought to take advantage of the Bell Let’s Talk initiative, which has donated in excess of $100 million to mental health programs in Canada since 2010.

Across Canada, millions of people are taking to social media and texting in support of the cause. The Canadian cell phone and television giant will donate five cents for every one sent.

With dozens of people taking the opportunity to mug up and have a conversation at the pavilion, there was plenty of chatter about the subject of the day.

“To come in, get your coffee and say ‘hello’ and have a chat can help improve your mental health and how you feel,” said Communities Against Violence executive director Stacy Harris.