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Local CMHA seeks new name as group goes independent

The Brandon Sun - 6/30/2018

The Canadian Mental Health Association, Westman Region has decided to change its name, to better represent the individuals it serves.

"We are a grassroots organization, and when the people that we serve say that they would like 'mental' out of the name, we listen to them," said regional manager Glen Kruck.

"Further to that, we serve a lot of homeless individuals -- over 120 each year -- and some individuals have mental health needs, but they will not go for assistance because they don't want to have the stigma attached with mental health."

After 33 years with the CMHA, the local branch has terminated its partnership with the provincial and national bodies to become "absolutely independent," Kruck said.

The organization will continue to concentrate efforts on improving the lives of people who are experiencing mental illness, as well as continuing to provide housing and supports to low-income and homeless individuals and families. It runs the Solutions to End Poverty Permanently program, which gives low-income families the opportunity to become first-time homeowners by eliminating common barriers, including high market prices and a down payment.

The organization also operates the Building Re-Fit store, which offers affordable building materials and furniture, both new and used, while providing employment for those in need.

Kruck said the organization is also developing new programming and supports to help the large numbers of students in the school system who have issues with anxiety, depression and bullying.

"We did raise funds, over $20,000, which we will be donating to the Brandon School Division," he said. "We're also going to be bringing in a trainer from London, England. Her speciality is solution-based schools, but she has an innovative way of dealing with bullying which doesn't brand an individual as a bully."

The organization has launched a New Name Contest, with a $500 grand prize for the first individual to submit the selected new name. The conditions of the contest state the new name must not contain the word "mental" and should not refer to a city/region to allow for flexibility to expand. Only names not currently used in Canada will be considered.

"There's a ton of creative minds out there," Kruck said. "We want to have a brand new progressive name without that stigmatizing word in it."

The deadline for submissions is Sept. 30. No more than two entries per person.

Submissions should be sent via email to ournewnamecontest@gmail.com, or drop off/mail to the Building Re-Fit Store, located at 23 12th St., Brandon, MB, R7A 4L6.

» jaustin@brandonsun.com

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