Fortney: ‘We’ve lived it,’ say mental health counsellors on front line of unique program – The Calgary Herald

Fortney: ‘We’ve lived it,’ say mental health counsellors on front line of unique program

Few of us emerge unscathed from our turbulent teenage years. For Jess Smith, though, typical adolescent angst would have been a respite from her daily struggles.

“I’ve experienced depression and anxiety and it fluctuates, it comes and goes,” says the now 27-year-old, who credits her creative outlet as a singer and musician, along with supportive parents, for helping her manage her mental health issues. Life today, she says, is about “learning to embrace it as best I can, and to not let it define who I am.”

On Monday morning, Smith candidly shares her story in an inviting space with brightly coloured furniture, the morning sun streaming in through large windows lined with potted plants, on this first day of the Canadian Mental Health Association’s 67th annual Mental Health Week.

It is a most welcoming environment, just as its creators planned. The brainchild of the folks at Canadian Mental Health Association/Calgary, the new Centre for Excellence in Recovery and Peer Support at 105-1040 7th Ave. S.W. officially opens Tuesday, providing Calgarians with yet another tool to address mental health issues.