Bell Let's Talk Day is all about talking about mental health. A program called Turning Pages is trying to keep that conversation going all year long. It was founded after Janelle DePeazer’s mother, Cathy Curtis died. "I just couldn't think of anything else, other than to turn it into positive, turn it into something meaningful and helpful for other people," said Depeazer.
In 2016 Curtis walked away from Grace Hospital where she was being treated for depression and anxiety. Her body was later found in the nearby Sturgeon Creek. "This is not a unique experience," said Depeazer. "It wasn't a unique experience for my mom. And mental health recovery is very possible."
That's why she created Turning Pages. Run in partnership with the University of Manitoba and the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba, it's a six week long evidence based cognitive behavioural program for people between 50 and 70 years of age.
"Often people in that 50 to 70 year old age range are going through a lot of life changes," said Rachel Westman from the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba. "That brings on depression and mental illness in some people."
The Mood Disorders Association says the mix of therapy, mindfulness, and life skills is being well received in the community. "The classes are filling up every time that we run it," said Westman. "So that's telling us that there's definitely a need for the program."
As the program nears its first anniversary, Depeazer believes it's making an impact. "Preliminary results have shown that we've been able to decrease symptoms of mental illness."
Right now, Turning Pages is just offered in the City of Winnipeg, but in the future Depeazer hopes it will spread across the province, and possibly even become a national program. For more information about how to sign up for the program, click here.