City and Partners Step Up with Sole Focus on Mental Health

The City of Windsor and Canadian Mental Health Association, Windsor Essex County Branch (CMHA-WECB) were joined today by officials from Windsor Police Service, Windsor Fire and Rescue Services and St. Clair College in support of the Downtown Core Partnership’s Wellness Wednesdays series at Charles Clark Square.

“CMHA-WECB is pleased to once again join the City of Windsor to launch their Wellness Wednesdays initiative”, said Chief Executive Officer Dr. Sonja Grbevski. “Physical and mental health go hand in hand, and with spring finally here, there is no better time to lace up your shoes and go for a walk.”

Wellness Wednesdays are an opportunity for friends and colleagues to walk, roll and talk during their lunch hour and realize the benefits that come from the outdoor activity.

“We know there is no health without mental health,” said Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens. “CMHA encourages us all to look after our mental health in the same manner we would our physical health. This year, the theme of Mental Health Month is all about Empathy – the ability to share someone else’s feelings or experiences by reflecting on what it would feel like to be in their situation – stepping into their shoes. This walk is to raise awareness in the community, but also in each of us here today.”

Joining Mayor Dilkens was Windsor Police Chief (A) Jason Bellaire, who commented, “The Windsor Police Service supports initiatives that promote positive steps for mental health and wellness. Transparent conversations among all stakeholders are essential to ensure our path to helping others is founded in compassion and empathy, and with an aim of eliminating stigma.”

This initiative returns for the first time since 2019, after which the pandemic stalled a successful run of walks at three years.

“Windsor Fire and Rescue Services is proud to support the Sole Focus Project,” said Assistant Fire Chief (A) Sean Wilson. “We have worked with the CMHA for the past several years, and they have been integral in helping us and other first responder agencies develop and implement better mental health wellness and prevention programs.”

To mark the official kick-off for 2022, participants were encouraged to wear teal green as part of the CMHA Windsor-Essex County Branch’s Sole Focus Project.

"It's fitting that this mental health awareness event takes the form of a walkathon because physical well-being is so closely tied to emotional and psychological wellness," said St. Clair College President Patti France. "Nothing is a better stress reliever than exercise, and walking with family and friends on a regular basis provides a great opportunity to have open and helpful conversations about how we're feeling. We'll be encouraging all staff and students to wear teal to show their support for the Sole Focus Project and all of CMHA's beneficial programs."

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