On Friday, February 15, 2013, Minding Our Bodies held a knowledge exchange forum in Thunder Bay, Ontario, to explore the role of physical activity and healthy eating in mental health promotion and recovery from mental illness for youth. More than 50 people participated in the full-day workshop, hosted at Ka-Na-Chi-Hih, a specialized solvent abuse treatment centre serving First Nation youth.
The day opened with a traditional prayer, song and smudging ceremony led by residential worker Jason Waukey, accompanied by the Ka-Na-Chi-Hih drumming group. intake/outreach worker Jessica Hamel provided an overview of the services offered by the residential treatment centre.
Scott Mitchell, Director of Knowledge Transfer at the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario, introduced the Minding Our Bodies project and explored the connections between physical and mental health. Gail Glatt gave an overview of YouThrive, a free mental health promotion resource jointly created by CMHA Ontario, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Ontario Lung Association, and Ophea.
Morning and afternoon physical activity breaks were led by Victor Cooke, a Master 4th Degree Black Belt and head instructor of Cooke’s Martial Arts, which has been located at the Confederation College Fitness Centre since 1995.
The morning keynote was delivered by Dan McGann, a social worker in Child and Family Services at Credit Valley Hospital, Mississauga, who shared his personal story and spoke about his Teen Run Group Therapy Program. (VIDEO: Blinded by the Dark, Part 2: CityNews Explores Teen Depression)
In the afternoon, Karen DeGagne (Northwest Regional Eating Disorder Program, St. Joseph's Care Group) and Janice Piper (Thunder Bay District Health Unit) presented “A Balanced Approach to Health and Wellness: Understanding Body Image and Weight-Related Disorders.”
A panel presentation showcased a range of local healthy living initiatives in Thunder Bay. Speakers included Erin Beagle (Roots to Harvest), Linda Bruins (Evergreen a United Neighbourhood), Meghan Payment (Regional Multicultural Youth Council), Marlene Wright (Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, speaking about the Ontario Sport and Recreation Communities Fund) and Karling Zaporzan (Thunder Bay District Health Unit).
The day closed with a roundtable discussion about next steps in the community.