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United in Conversation's first event focuses on Diversity of Mental Health

The United Way event series begins on Dec. 2
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United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin is pleased to announce a new community event series “United In Conversation” – an interactive, authentic and radically fresh conversation about pressing local issues.  The first event in the series will take place Dec. 2 and focus on The Diversity of Mental Health.

“Mental health, mental illness and mental wellbeing are the focus of many conversations right now in our community – and for good reason – 1 in 5 Canadians experience a mental health problem or illness,” said Glenna Banda, executive director, United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin.  “However, we also know that COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted many members of our community, including those from diverse and marginalized communities.”

Members of diverse communities suffer from an increased rate of mental health concerns, including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.  This increased incidence can be related to the lack of access to appropriate and culturally responsive mental health care, racism, discrimination and factors such as income level, disability and sexual identity.

The United In Conversation event will feature a recorded discussion between community members – some with expertise and some with lived experience – which participants will have an opportunity to watch prior to attending the live event on December 2nd.  At the event, participants will have an opportunity to have conversations, share, listen and learn – and most importantly look at steps forward to create lasting, positive change. 

Conversationalists include Mike Greer, Alex Milsom, Dr. Shara Ally, Melanie Moore, Stevie Forbes-Roberts, Mechaela Alfonso and Barry Moore, and represent a variety backgrounds and ages, including BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and people with disabilities.

“United Way is committed to ensuring people are connected to supports to help build connection and belonging.  Our goal with this event is to engage the community in honest conversations on the realities some groups face when it comes to caring for their mental health,” said Banda.  “In order for all of us to make a radical recovery, we need to support culturally competent and easily accessible mental health services for all.”

Tickets ($15) can be purchased on the United Way website –  To ensure all those that want to attend are able, complimentary tickets are available if cost is a barrier.

United Way is the second largest funder of social service programs across the country, second only to government.  Thanks to generous donors and partners, United Way is creating change on key social issues such as food security, mental health and isolation in seniors by investing $2.3 million in critical services to over 90,000 residents across Guelph, Wellington & Dufferin in 2021. This is in addition to the close to $1.5 million distributed for COVID emergency services in 2020, thanks in part to both local donors and corporate partners, and the Government of Canada.