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New View Society celebrates accomplishments

Ted Kuntz, chair of New View Society, welcomes the public to a gala, open house and Peace Begins with Me presentation to celebrate the accomplishments of the society that supports individuals with mental health concerns and their families. - DIANE STRANDBERG/THE TRI-CITY NEWS
Ted Kuntz, chair of New View Society, welcomes the public to a gala, open house and Peace Begins with Me presentation to celebrate the accomplishments of the society that supports individuals with mental health concerns and their families.
— image credit: DIANE STRANDBERG/THE TRI-CITY NEWS

New View Society is celebrating Mental Wellness Week May 1 to 5 with the theme Reflect, Reveal and Renew and is hosting three events to raise the profile of the organization that has provided support for individuals and families challenged by mental illness.

Executive director Jill Calder said the organization has been doing significant work in the community for nearly 40 years yet few people in the Tri-Cities are aware of New View Society and the impact it has had on people's lives.

From providing recreational and vocational programs to housing support, New View helps hundreds of people in each year, including 17 people who have lived or currently live in semi-independent residences in a newly-built Community Wellness Centre and Iris House facility in Port Coquitlam.

Calder said the special events will open the doors to the community on New View activities, as well as provide inspirational messages and a gala to celebrate recent accomplishments.

"We're doing it mostly to bring awareness to what New View Society has been doing for a long time," Calder said.

The week kicks off next Tuesday, May 1, with a presentation by Ted Kuntz, psychotherapist, author and public speaker, and chair of the New View Society, who will share his personal reflections on achieving peace in one's daily life. The event Peace Begins with Me — also the title of a book by Kuntz — takes place at Port Moody's Inlet Theatre, beginning with a reception at 6:30 p.m. followed up by the presentation at 7:30 p.m.

There will also be an open house on May 3 beginning at 2 p.m. at the Community Wellness Centre, 2050 Mary Hill Rd. in PoCo, and a gala event at the Westwood Plateau Golf and Country Club on May 5, featuring a dinner and dancing with the dance band Ten Souljers.

Kuntz said he is pleased to take part in the event with a presentation that will appeal to all individuals, not just those dealing with mental health challenges. He would like to see New View become a lighthouse organization that dispels the stigma of mental illness while also providing programs for the entire community.

He compares New View now to Crossroads Hospice Society in its early days; Crossroads had to confront society's inability to deal with or talk about death and now is widely known as a model organization for supporting people with terminal illness and their families. It built a free-standing hospice at Inlet Centre that became a rallying point for the community, which continues to support the organization with volunteers and donations.

Kuntz would like to see the same thing happen with New View, which now has a modern facility with a commercial kitchen and program rooms that could be used for community wellness programs such as yoga and grief support. Eventually, he would like to see the organization bring in internationally known speakers to talk about issues such as mental wellness that would appeal to a wide audience, such as Deepak Chopra, who is a world-renowned mind-body healing pioneer and the founder of the Chopra Centre for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, California.

"That is the dream," Kuntz said.

For now though, the organization is building its support by reaching out to the community and celebrating achievements.

• More information about the events and tickets are available at www.newviewcelebrates.com.

NEW VIEW SOCIETY FAST FACTS

• Since 1973, the New View Society has been involved in providing recreational and vocational support and housing to improve the quality of life for individuals and families challenged by mental illness.

• In 2011, New View opened a Community Wellness Centre on 2050 Mary Hill Rd. in Port Coquitlam that provides programs, services and semi-independent living for 10 individuals.

• 90% of people using the Community Wellness Centre are from the Tri-Cities area

MENTAL HEALTH FAST FACTS

• One in five Canadians will experience a mental illness during their lifetime.

• Mental illness affects people of all ages, genders, cultures, education and income levels.

• Two thirds of homeless people using urban shelters suffer from some form of mental illness.

• Of the 10 leading causes of disability worldwide, five are mental disorders.

• Mental Wellness Week is May 1 to 5.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS

"Being involved in the New View Mental Wellness Week is very symbolic for me. I am one of the one in five Canadians who struggles with mental illness. My anxiety disorder, over the years, has wreaked havoc at different times in my life but, through a lot of hard work and the understanding of a few close friends, I've been able to manage... to speak out and be a sponsor for a week like this is a bit of a personal victory for me."

— Kelly Lee Parry of Depiction Writing and Design

"Our theme 'Reflect, Reveal and Renew' echoes the work New View does with its clients. We help them reflect on the challenges their mental wellness presents while building trust for them to reveal what life is like in their eyes and encourage them to renew their commitment to their own well-being,"

— Darrel Roemer, clubhouse manager

"I was really helped because my sustainability of well-being has been increased as I did not have the necessary means to fit into group living because I was living alone. I would like to comment on how group living at New View benefits anyone living with mental health. Iris House is a companion."

— Paul Leblanc, community member

dstrandberg@tricitynews.com

 

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