Minds in Motion Walk opens conversation about physical activity mental health and stigma

From left, Trudy Reid, NSHA Public Health Nutritionist, walking with Barb Hoeg and Carolyn d'Entremont from Maggie's Place Family Resource Centre.

For the past nine years, Addiction and Mental Health services have teamed up with several community partners in the Amherst area to hold the Minds in Motion Walk as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.

Working with local partners, staff and physicians make an effort to show exercise good for your physical health, and it also improves mental health as well.

The 2015 walk was  held May 4 with a large group of young and old alike, including two Grade 6 classes, gathering at the Cumberland YMCA for the walk through downtown Amherst and then returning to the YMCA for a healthy barbecue lunch.

Psychologist Pam Chenhall has been involved in the planning for the annual walk from the beginning. She says another purpose of the walk is to help eliminate some of the barriers and stigmas that are still associated with mental health.

“Gains are happening slowly,” said Chenhall, “but we are seeing mental health being talked about more and more in a healthy and positive way”.

She says that people are becoming more comfortable talking about their mental health and pointed out that celebrities like Olympian Clara Hughes have done a great deal to make it OK to open up about mental health issues.

Staff from several NSHA departments participated with support from Cumberland’s three community health boards, the Bridge Adult Service Centre, the Town of Amherst along with folks from the Cumberland Early Intervention, Maggie’s Place Family Resource Centre and lots of community members.