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Organizers hope for ‘sea of green’ with Weyburn mental health initiative

Look for green door hangers, for residents to show they support mental health resource and initiatives, and care about their neighbours and friends
Tasha Collins of the CMHA, and Const. Melinda Mintenko of the Weyburn police, show the green door hangers that will be distributed to every home in the last week of April, to be displayed during Mental Health Week in May

WEYBURN – Weyburn and area residents should check their April 29 issue of Weyburn This Week for a green door hanger, which is being distributed to all homes as part of a new Mental Health Week initiative.

The door hangers each have a QR code on the front and a list of local resources people can use if they need someone to talk to, or a place to refer a friend or family member to. The hangers are the brainchild of Const. Melinda Mintenko of the Weyburn Police Service, and Tasha Collins of the Weyburn branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

The idea began to form in Const. Mintenko’s head as she was cruising around on patrol one day.

“I was thinking about my job and reflecting on the 22 years of service I had. I just came from a call, and there was a citizen who’s lived here his whole life and they didn’t know the resources that existed in the community. It just got me thinking about over the years how I’ve given contacts to so many people who are unaware of who to phone when they’re in crisis or need to help someone in their family,” she explained. “I got to thinking, we need to get this out to them.”

The idea expanded from there as Const. Mintenko thought it should be more than just providing a list of resources, but a way for the community to come together to support one another.

“It should be an initiative that draws people together in providing resources. It should be for community members, business members, people staying in the hotels, or living in the RM. I wanted people to take a stand with us. Not only to have the numbers and know who to call, but to do their part to come together as a community and show one another that they care about each other and that they’re willing to help and to listen,” she said. “By displaying something, maybe we can drive change and make the community stronger.”

Const. Mintenko went to talk to Collins at the CMHA office to share her thoughts, initially thinking about using ribbons, and they came up with the idea of making door hangers to provide awareness to everyone of what mental health resources are available to all residents in the community.

By having door hangers, said Collins, “It’s the physical act of somebody putting something on your front door. We could go around town and put them on everybody’s doors, but it’s not doing anything. If they take it out of the newspaper and physically put it on the door, it says ‘I support mental health’, and they want the community to know, ‘I’m aware of mental health’.”

“We hope to see a sea of green, to have the community come together to show we do support this. We are human and we all have things we need to work on, and we all have struggles, and you know, that’s okay,” added Const. Mintenko. “A simple act like this could really draw us together. Maybe they can take a chance on a neighbour and on one another. Maybe I should give my neighbours and friends a chance to tell them what’s going on inside.”

There are two main purposes to this initiative, said Collins. “One is to create awareness of mental health, and two, create that connection with mental health services in the area, as well as in our province and in our country.”

She added she loves Melinda’s idea of connecting us to the community, and with neighbours, with family and friends, and with resources in the community and to mental health in general.

The hotels have welcomed this initiative, and will have the hangers in the rooms so visitors are aware of what resources there are should the need arise, said Const. Mintenko.

“As officers, we do see calls from people who are staying at those places. I think it’s important they know who to call from these resources,” she added.

In addition, the RM of Weyburn will distribute the hangers to residents, and the Weyburn Chamber will do so with various businesses in the city.

The QR code on the front of the hangers will take a person to the CMHA’s website, and will provide links to a more extensive list of different resources that are available for people to access, explained Collins.

“I think it’s really great when Melinda came up with this idea, with the messaging that we should remember those we have lost, and to support those who are struggling. We all struggle from time to time, and we really thought that’s a great message of this initiative to pass on,” she said, noting the extended list includes such numbers as the Kids Help Line and links to AA and Al-Anon resources, as examples.

“If for some reason someone got missed, please give me a call at the Weyburn Police Service, or Tasha at CMHA, and we will it out to you,” added Const. Mintenko.

In addition to the door hangers, they will be distributing window clings that will be on display throughout the city, at businesses, schools and other locations.

If people are wondering why the police number is part of this initiative, Const. Mintenko explained, “We are not just reactive. As police officers, we have so many jobs in one, which is part of why I love my job so much, same as the day I started.”

She added if someone would like a wellness check, or a friend or family member is in a crisis, they can call the police to help out.

“I hope the community will see us as a helping resource, and not just someone who comes in to arrest people,” she added.

Collins added of this initiative, “I think by getting these resources out there, it will make a difference and help those who are struggling, or who are alone and vulnerable.”

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