BU mental health conference brings in Jordin Tootoo for public talk

Photo: Brandon University News

Brandon University is inviting the community to a “Mental Health on the Prairies Conference and Community Gathering” this spring where everyone will be welcome to discuss and learn about mental wellness and addiction.

The conference and gathering will run from April 29 through May 1, 2020 and will bring together researchers, professionals working in health and social care, educators, community groups, and people with lived experience of mental health and addictions to discuss mental health needs and solutions.

The first evening of the event will kick off with a public keynote by Jordin Tootoo, former Wheat King and the first Inuk player in history to be drafted by the NHL. Tootoo’s talk will focus on creating a culture of inclusivity to promote mental health. Tickets will go on sale at the Westman Centennial Auditorium on Oct. 15, 2019.

The conference and community gathering aims to increase access and participation in information exchange about mental health.

“We need to work together as a community to support mental health. That is why this is such an important gathering for Brandon and southwestern Manitoba” said BU’s Dr. Rachel Herron, conference co-chair and Canada Research Chair in Rural and Remote Mental Health.

The event planning team includes community co-chair Chris Bromley, Manager of Child and Adolescent Mental Health as well as educators and researchers from across disciplines including education, nursing and science at Brandon University.

“A whole community approach to promoting and maintaining positive mental health care is key. That is what we are trying to achieve with this conference,” Bromley said. “Everyone has a place and a role to play when it comes to mentally healthy communities.”

Several leading researchers on mental health from across Canada will bring their expertise to the event. The meeting will include invited presentations by Dr. Michael Ungar, a Canada Research Chair in Child, Family and Community Resilience at Dalhousie University, as well as Dr. Caroline Tait Co-lead of First Peoples First Person, a national Indigenous research hub of the Canadian Depression Research and Intervention Network. Local presenters from non-profits, health care, and those with lived experience will round out the conference and gathering.

Participants in the meeting will also have an opportunity to actively engage by ‘walking in others shoes’ during experiential activities, including a poverty simulation, a forced displacement exercise, blanket exercise, and a virtual dementia tour. Participants can choose one of the experiences to attend.

The three-day meeting will conclude with a World Café lunch, where participants will discuss community challenges and solutions to mental health promotion and well-being on the Prairies. Ultimately, the event aims to draw together applied experts such as practitioners working in the front lines and people with lived experience along with academic experts across the country to share knowledge and engage in critical conversations about community-based mental health research and solutions.

“I am excited about this conference and gathering and the positive impact it can have as a priority objective of our Centre for the Critical Studies of Rural Mental Health and our community,” said BU Dean of Health Studies Dr. John Moraros. “I anticipate that this event will act as a catalyst for ongoing dialogue and support for mental health issues, policies and action to improve the quality of life for people in Manitoba and across Canada.”

Conference organizers encourage people to kindly consider participating, contributing and benefitting from the upcoming conference and community gathering.

Please visit the conference website for more information at BrandonU.ca/MHP.

(Source: Brandon University News)