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  • Writer's pictureHannah Johnston

Ball hockey teams rally to support West Island mental health care.

Together for Mental Health is Perspective Communautaire en Santé Mentale’s (P.C.S.M.) annual community event that shines a light upon the importance of easily accessible and impactful mental health support. In honor of the organization’s 35th anniversary, a friendly ball hockey tournament took place between politicians, SPVM, West Island Ball Hockey League, and C.I.U.S.S.S. members, as well as teams representing Action Jeunesse de l'Ouest de l'Île and P.C.S.M.

"Together, we can change the negative taboos surrounding mental health. Regardless of their mental illness, a person remains somebody's mother or sibling or friend; their illness does not define them, and they are capable of living productive lives," said Emmanuelle Morin, the Clinical Director of P.C.S.M.

P.C.S.M. provides programs and community supervision to adults with mental health disorders. They offer long-term support (3 months) for adults with mental illnesses so they may manage their daily lives. Their “Homerun” housing service guides adults through finding affordable housing, including how to plan, research, budget, conduct home tours, and learn about tenant rights.

Patrick Merrigan, Director General of P.C.S.M., began the tournament with a tribute to the 35 years P.C.S.M. has been in operation, "In 1988, 4 people saw a need for mental health support for their children and began the organization. Today, our community workers are out in the community daily supporting people living through difficulties."

Left to right: David Arsenault, Steve O'Brien, Emmanuelle Morin, Dwight Walton.

David Arsenault is a former National Taekwondo Champion and the Founder and Executive Director of the Champions for Life Foundation. The Foundation delivers physical literacy programs to lower socio-economic schools to help children develop the motivation, confidence, and competence to be active for life. He attended the event as an ambassador in support of P.C.S.M.

"The definition of health is being able to adapt to change. This includes physical, emotional, and mental health. P.C.S.M. is about building a community and supporting others to create a healthy environment."

Steve O'Brien was another notable guest in attendance, an ambassador for P.C.S.M. and the Founder of The Steve O'Brien Foundation. The organization equips children with the tools they need to be resilient and confident enough to reach their personal goals. After an injury put an end to his Olympic dreams, he displayed resilience in every sense of the word through a cross-country journey in 2015. He crossed Canada in 13 225 km using twelve athletic disciplines chosen by children:

"Many people in our community need help. Children need to have someone to look up to who persevered through a struggle. When a community works together with children, the future is unstoppable."

Dwight Walton is a former Canadian National Basketball Team player who attended the tournament to show his support for the organization. The themes central to P.C.S.M.'s mission resonated with him;

"It is crucial for us to identify and recognize those in need of help, and getting these foundations together through P.C.S.M. is a big part of being there for each other and finding our voice."
"People don't always want to share what they've been through. Recognizing and addressing your feelings is the first part; you can connect with others from there. We should openly discuss these things all the time." -Benz Antoine, Actor, P.C.S.M. Ambassador.

The anniversary event at the Kirkland Arena was a moment for the community to discover services offered by organizations that work tirelessly to ensure support is readily available. Here are some organizations to consider based on the circumstances you may be faced with.

Community/caregiving support:

Youth mentorship programs:

Psychosis prevention:

LGBTQ2+ support:


Health literacy:

Workforce integration:

Trauma therapy:

Physical/mental well-being:

Helping out:

SOURCE: Perspective Communautaire en Santé Mentale

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