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After a successful trial of offering three Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Recovery College Courses in 2018, Winkler's Central Station Community Centre will be expanding the pilot project.

The initial pilot offered 3 courses from the THRIVE Learning Centre. Students from Winkler were able to take part in Understanding Depression, Understanding Anxiety and Journey to Recovery.

Central Station's Executive Director, Bev Wiebe says the overwhelming response from the community led them to expand its offering to include more courses.

Thanks to a $25,000 grant through Bell Let's Talk, Central Station will facilitate ten additional CMHA Recovery College courses.

"This has been in the works for quite a while, and it's just crazy exciting to see it all come together," says Wiebe. "We are passionate about providing supports to families and individuals in our community that are accessible for all and promote hope and overall wellness." 
cs mh speaker

The courses and educational resources for mental health service users, their families, friends, and members of the community, focuses on promoting mental health literacy, self-exploration and skill development.

The courses will be offered in partnership with Eden Mental Health Services, and CMHA of Central Manitoba. "We are not mental health providers and never intend to be," adds Wiebe. "We're about revealing options in the community and connecting agencies, so this is just a great place that we can connect CMHA together with Eden and use their powers together to make this all happen."

Sean Miller, Executive Director for CMHA Central, says one of the things about services in rural communities is that they typically lack the breadth of services that are offered in larger city centres. "We know that right now, that there is a wait time for a lot of the services that are offered, anywhere from eight months to sixteen months. So very often, you're often looking at people that are struggling moderately getting into a situation where it becomes a crisis."

Miller says one of the great things about this model, is that there's great evidence to show that as people move into an innovative service offering like THRIVE, it greatly reduces some of the severity they are going through. He adds as people are waiting for other types of services, it's being realized that after they go through the Recovery College or THRIVE Learning Centre, that they no longer need the same level of services. "That's not to say this is a replacement for those services, we look at it as adding a compliment to what's already existing."

Wiebe says the $25,000 grant will cover the cost of facilitating the ten courses. "That will offer enough facilitation, honourariums and that kind of thing for this first pilot. After that, we'll see what the community says and how the community buys into the program."

The ten CMHA Recovery College Courses in this phase of the pilot project will run until June.

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