50 years of empowering people with mental health needs was celebrated last night in Winkler.
It was 5 decades ago that a group of community members saw a need to help others struggling, and out of their caring for others, Eden Mental Health Services was born.
Evelyn Labun, board chair for Eden Health Care Services says over the years, Eden has evolved in many wonderful ways in response to community needs. "When I look at the history, they started a hospital, because that's what they knew," said Labun. "Then they looked around and said where are they going to live, and they did housing. They then said, but there's more to living than just living somewhere, so what are you going to do? And then work issues arose...and what about all the other people who aren't in hospitals, but are having troubles, and out of that came Recovery of Hope."
Labun said their mandate of empowering people with mental health needs and their growth of services over the past five decades, is thanks to many caring people. "Tonight, as I look over the tables, I see community, and it's absolutely wonderful." Labun said the care for mentally ill and people in distress cannot be done by staff alone, it's the community that does it with them.
The evening also included the celebration of four Mental Health Heroes, who have walked through a mental health journey, or who have walked alongside someone struggling with mental health. Nathan Elias, general manager of Essen Transport, a local trucking company was one of them. He was recognized for stepping out and sharing with others about his recovery through severe depression. Elias attributed his recovery to his Christian faith and strong core of friends, as well as Eden's Recovery of Hope program.
"I believe Eden is a great cause throughout the community and throughout Manitoba. The things they do for counselling and therapy, and how it's so easily available to anyone that is willing to accept the help."
Janine Monroe from Morden was honoured for the strong support she is to her husband, an RCMPofficer. "My husband's job is a very stressful job, and that's how it affects our lives, so I'm here to help him go through anything he goes through."
The other Mental Health Heroes included local Musician Warren Friesen. Through his music and other avenues, Friesen has made his struggles with mental health public in hopes of connecting with others as a way to assist in their healing process.
Mental Health Hero, Sylvia Fehr from Marchand was nominated by her daughter. Sylvia walked alongside her daughter Lorraine's struggle through mental illness, and together they found recovery through professional counselling.
The 50th-anniversary gala also included special guest speaker, Margaret Trudeau who shared her long struggle with mental illness, and that there is hope for recovery, thanks to organizations like Eden.
Those at the gala were also treated to the musical stylings of Bass Opera Singer, Phillip Ens Jr., Meagan (Reimer) Larios - Mezzo-Soprano, and Pianist Laura Friesen.
- Pianist Laura Friesen Pianist Laura Friesen
- Meagan (Reimer) Larios - Mezzo-Soprano Meagan (Reimer) Larios - Mezzo-Soprano
- Phillip Ens Jr. - Bass Phillip Ens Jr. - Bass