Reduce stress, improve mental health

By Geoff Lee

February 7, 2017 12:00 AM

A STATE OF MIND Darryl Gossen, regional director of Investors Group, chats with Wendy Plandowski, CEO of the the Lloydminster Region Health Foundation, about their partnership to bring Olympian, Clara Hughes to the city on March 22 to talk to students and the public about mental health. Far left are Gwen Bodnar, an Investors Group consultant, and Brent Thomas, superintendent of the Lloydminster Public School Divsion. On the far right is Alison Fulkerth, community education coordinator for the Catholic School Division. GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO

The Lloydminster Region Health Foundation has begun to offer free mindfulness drop-in sessions to help people improve their mental health by reducing stress.
Its Community Mindfulness Project is up and running for four months with two sessions on Mondays and one on Thursday at The Root Community Emporium.
“We have looked at a lot of research where people’s overall well being, if they can participate in mindfulness and meditation is incredibly important towards their well being,” said Wendy Plandowski, Health Foundation CEO.
The mindfulness project is the fifth phase of the Health Foundation’s Heartbeat of the Community initiative.
Plandowski said mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the moment.
“It will allow people to handle their stress better and just be more focused throughout the day,” she said.
The topic on Monday mornings will be Workplace Wellness from 11:10 to 11:55 a.m. followed by Pain and Trauma from 12:10 to 12:55 p.m.
Thursday sessions will deal with Mindfulness for Teenagers and Children from 4:10 to 4:45 p.m.
All of the sessions are free and open to the public with private group workshops available by request.
Local groups currently practicing mindfulness or some type of meditation include the public and Catholic school divisions, the Slim Thorpe Recovery Centre, the Lloydminster Community Youth Centre, The Lloydminster Sexual Assault & Information Centre and various athletes and sports teams.
The mindfulness project follows a new partnership between the Health Foundation and Investors Group to bring Olympian Clara Hughes to town to talk to adults and students about mental health.
Despite winning six medals at several winter and summer Olympics in speed skating and cycling, Hughes has struggled with personal bouts of depression.
The new mental health initiative announced at the Investors Group office on Feb. 1 is called, Clara Hughes: Her Story Behind The Spotlight.
It’s aimed at helping to break down stigmas associated with mental health.
Hughes will share her own story with the community on March 22 at the Vic Juba Community Theatre at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $10 a person with proceeds going to support mental health through the Health Foundation.
Hughes will hold a closed afternoon session that day for local students who may be dealing with a mental illness themselves.
Hughes came to Lloydminster in 2014 as part of her 12,000-km bike ride across Canada to talk about mental health.
That ride, named “Clara’s Big Ride for Mental Health,” is a part of “Bell’s Let’s Talk” campaign, a national initiative launched in 2010 aimed at fighting the stigma surrounding mental health.
Plandowski is excited to have Hughes back in the community.
“The message she has that gets back to students really resonates with them,” she said.
“Without Investors Group and the partnership with the school division, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish it.”

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