October 10, 2018

Kristina Shelden, Resource Coordinator, PIRC

One wonderful train of thought threading its way through our community is the understanding and awareness of mental health; how essential it is to destigmatize and to take care of ourselves when it comes to mental health issues. In homage to this social shift, and in recognition of World Mental Health Day today, I want to share a resource for people who suffer from mental health disorders that I recently discovered.

There is a leisure, health, and wellness bursary offered through Vancouver Coastal Health in affiliation with the Open Door Group for residents of Vancouver. I apologize to anyone outside of Vancouver, this one is rather specific. Getting out and participating in activities is an excellent way to improve your mental health and this bursary offers $150 towards that goal.

The Open Door Group is a non-profit organization that provides employment services to thousands of people a year. They work with individuals in the communities they serve by assisting them in preparing for, finding, and keeping meaningful employment.

I should specify that this bursary is for people who identify as having a mental health issue as their primary diagnosis. I spoke with someone at the Open Door Group who advised that it’s important that this diagnosis be primary, or your request for help may be declined. It’s understood that there is a continuum of perspectives when it comes to mental health, and as long as you and your health practitioner refer you to the program as a means of helping to treat a condition such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or another diagnosis, you may find yourself eligible. The final decision is, however, at the discretion of the Open Door Group and the recreational therapist that you are working with. The end goal is to create a plan that bests suits everyone.

Having said all this, I don’t want it to discourage you from trying! One of my personal mottos is: it is better to ask and risk getting a no, than not ask and risk missing out on a yes. And the person I spoke with at the Open Door Group agreed with me.

If you live in Vancouver and you’ve been struggling with your mental health and want to have some help with participating in a leisure activity to help alleviate some of your symptoms, and enhance your mental state, I encourage you to apply for this program.

For more information and to apply for this bursary, please visit their website.


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