City of Regina hoping to foster positive mental health conversations with new bench

·2 min read
There are two plaques on the new reflection benches that will be located in different parks across the city.  (Kirk Fraser/CBC - image credit)
There are two plaques on the new reflection benches that will be located in different parks across the city. (Kirk Fraser/CBC - image credit)

The City of Regina is partnering with the Canadian Mental Health Association's Regina branch to install reflection benches in support of mental health.

Reflection benches are for people to take a moment to sit and reflect on their mental wellbeing, while remembering to take care of themselves and those around them.

Five existing benches in different parks across the city will be retrofitted with plaques this year.

The plaques have a QR code that people can scan to get support services on the city's website. There are also signs that read "you are not alone."

Kirk Fraser/CBC
Kirk Fraser/CBC

The theme for Mental Health Week this year is empathy.

Mayor Sandra Masters hopes residents use the benches to take the time to reflect.

"To create that process to check in with yourself and to think about your family and loved ones in terms of who is experiencing what," Masters said.

Kirk Fraser/CBC
Kirk Fraser/CBC

Shannon Patton is the director of community engagement with the CMHA-Regina Branch.

Patton hopes the benches can build positive relationships while reducing divisions between people and communities.

"It's just one more tool in the tool box for someone to activate and use," said Patton.

Many people in Saskatchewan have not been able to get access to mental health services in a timely manner because of backlogs and lack of staff.

They want us to listen to them, they don't need to be judged. - Muna De Ciman, Black In Saskatchewan

Muna De Ciman is a representative of Black in Saskatchewan, a youth-led organization dedicated to addressing systemic issues and educating people on the Black experience in the province.

De Ciman hopes this initiative can spark comfortable conversations around mental health.

"There is a high probability that when young people talk to each other, things happen," said De Ciman.

The city will add five additional benches in 2023 with a combination of new and existing ones. Any new benches will cost $3,000 to install.

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