North Simcoe Victim Services is hosting its second annual Community Mental Health Fair next week.
The event is being held on March 30 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Orillia Public Library. It will bring 16 community agencies together to talk about the services they offer.
The agencies include employment services, counsellors, members of the Orillia Fire Department in addition to representatives from the Canadian Mental Health Association, YMCA, Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital, and more.
Kim Kneeshaw, the executive director at North Simcoe Victim Services, says it's vital to inform the community about the number of mental health supports that are available in the Orillia area.
“A lot of people have a misconception that the days are getting longer, it’s officially spring, and people who were feeling sad should be feeling better now,” she said. “It’s been proven that a lot of suicides still happen in April.”
Kneeshaw says the event will make people more aware of where they can go for help locally if they are struggling.
“Mental health is a huge issue that our community struggles with,” she said. “It’s really important to get information out to the community about the supports and programs that are available to people at no cost.”
Kneeshaw says the pandemic and inflation are huge factors that have led to an increase in people facing mental health challenges.
“People were locked down, closed in, and couldn’t socialize during the pandemic and I think that was hard on people,” she said. “A lot of people have lost their social skills because of lockdowns.”
The rising cost of bills and groceries are also causing people to feel more stressed than ever before, Kneeshaw says.
“People are having anxiety about how they are going to pay rent and how they are going to pay their bills,” she said. “The pandemic has exacerbated the mental health issues in our community and the after-effects continue to do so.”
Kneeshaw says she received great feedback from last year’s event.
“Even myself as a community agency learned about other support services in the community that I wasn’t aware of,” she said. “People who attended really appreciated the information.”
The event is free and includes refreshments. For more information about North Simcoe Victim Services, click here.