Pooling Ideas Forum

Posted on April 03, 2013

On Friday, March 15, 2013, Minding Our Bodies held a knowledge exchange and networking forum in Toronto, Ontario, to showcase the most promising practices based on the 2012/2013 Minding Our Bodies-funded programs. Program coordinators/ managers and allied partners shared what works in physical activity and healthy eating programming to support people at risk of, or living with, mental health and addiction issues. More than 45 people participated in the full-day workshop, hosted at the YWCA Elm Centre, a community support centre dedicated to improving the lives of girls and women.

Illustration by Liisa Sorsa

Illustration by Liisa Sorsa, ThinkLink Graphics (click image to see full-size version)

Artist Liisa Sorsa captured the day's proceedings in images and text. See below for links to full-size images of all three panels.

Scott Mitchell, Director of Knowledge Transfer at the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario, introduced the Minding Our Bodies project and explored the connections between physical and mental health. Jessica VandenBussche spoke about her Strong Free and Happy Across Canada Tour, a cycling tour across Canada to help support Minding Our Bodies-type programs that promote mental health and physical activity.

The morning schedule included the following presentations:

"Adventure in Recovery" was presented by Shannon Knutson, Recreation Therapist at Waterloo Regional Homes for Mental Health, and Brandon Sarazin, a participant and peer leader in the program.

"Habits for Health" was presented by Rebecca Thompson, Recreation Therapist at Homewood Health Centre in Guelph.

"Passport to Health" was presented by Ronny Yaron, Project Coordinator at Margaret's Housing and Community Support Services in Toronto.

"Yoga Program" was presented by Jimmy Tobin, a facilitator and coordinator of the Day Program at Horizons for Youth in Toronto. He spoke about how the yoga program at the youth shelter helped to address personal hygiene issues, participant motivation and building relationships in the community. The program made use of donations of gym clothing for participants and yoga instruction.

"Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds" was presented by Doris Pleau Sauve, Program Manager at Mental Health and Addiction Services of Simcoe County.

"Fun with Food and Fitness" was presented by Janet Edwards, Health Promoter at Centretown Community Health Centre in Ottawa.

"Shovel to Spoon" was presented by Lynsy Church, Court Support Worker at CMHA Huron Perth Branch and Liz Mountain, Food Skills Coordinator at the Local Community Food Centre (LCFC) in Stratford.

"Gardening, Healthy Eating and Physical Activity" was presented by Halina Shannan and Margaret Edwards who are peer support workers at The Link at the Mental Health Support Project. They spoke about the importance aquafit played in engaging participants with weight issues. The water was an accessible way to be active and participate without fear of weight stigma.

"Healthy Eating and Gardening Program" was presented by Jaipreet Kohli, Program Manager and Across Boundaries’ team lead for the At Home / Chez Soi Housing First research demonstration project, and  Erika Del Carmen Fuchs, Foods Skills Coordinator and Program Facilitator at The Stop Community Food Centre.

The YWCA Elm Centre's Minding Our Bodies program was presented by Pamela Gawn, who coordinates the Community Engagement program, and Jennifer Dean, a tenant of YWCA Elm Centre and program participant. The presentation was made on behalf of Jennie McKnight who runs Elm Housing Support Program at the YWCA Toronto.

The Healthy Eating Program at Gateway Residential & Community Support Services of Niagara was presented by Shelly Mousseau, Resource and Development Manager.

In the afternoon, the photovoice project "Thinking Outside the Breadbox" was presented by Gillian Edwards, a social recreation and life skills facilitator at WoodGreen Community Services, and Denise Allen, a manager at Toronto North Support Services.

Dancing illiustration by Liisa SorsaAn active movement workshop was led by Allen and Karen Kaeja, co-artistic directors from Kaeja d'Dance. The Kaeja d'Dance group provided ways to incorporate free-form, improvised movement into a program.

"Building Evaluation Capacity for Physical Activity and Healthy Eating Programs" was presented by Dina Franchi, a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto in the Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation. 

The day closed with a discussion about next steps to move programs forward for greater evaluation capacity.

Scott Mitchell, CMHA Ontario664.7 KB
Shannon Knutson, Waterloo Regional Homes for Mental Health4.36 MB
Rebecca Thompson, Homewood Health Centre272.2 KB
Janet Edwards, Centretown CHC939.29 KB
Lynsy Church, CMHA Huron Perth131.47 KB
Jaipreet Kohli, Across Boundaries1.22 MB
Pamela Gawn, YWCA Elm Centre1.51 MB
Shelly Mousseau, Gateway Niagara502.15 KB
Gillian Edwards, Woodgreen1.84 MB
Dina Franchi, University of Toronto263.06 KB
Liisa Sorsa's illustration (part 1)908.84 KB
Liisa Sorsa's illustration (part 2)869.61 KB
Liisa Sorsa's illustration (part 3)907.96 KB