#GetLoudOxford, an initiative involving multiple community partners encouraging people to speak up about mental health because 'it's the hurt that doesn't show'

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Green lights glimmer and glow on the rooftop of the building that is home to the Ingersoll Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic and the Ingersoll Pharmasave.

The lights are a symbol of their support for an initiative entitled #GetLoudOxford designed to inform, educate and speak out about mental health.

The #GetLoudOxford initiative takes place between April 30 and May 6, and involves multiple community partners who support mental health in some way and who came together to raiser awareness during Children's Mental Health Awareness Week and Mental Health Awareness Week.

“It’s about reducing the stigma and about people understanding it’s OK to not be OK,” said Lisa Longworth, community services co-ordinator and counsellor at the Ingersoll Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic (INPLC). “If you’re not feeling OK you can come to this building because you will likely find the support you need.”

The INPLC has 2,000 patients and besides primary care offers in-kind space to host weekly walk-in counselling, which includes two additional CMHA counsellors offering free service to anyone who walks through the door Tuesday afternoon. Services also include an Oxford County Community Health Centre community outreach worker to help navigate they system and determine resources.

Rob Parsons, co-owner of the Pharmasave said the counselling services are integral to their customer’s recovery from addictions.

“Before counselling was available there was a huge gap,” he said “Methadone was keeping them clean but they needed the next phase of ‘how did I get here and how can I change my life.’”

He said they are very pleased to be able to support mental health initiatives.

“Mental health is something we deal with everyday,” he said.

On the second Wednesday of the month at the INPLC from 5 to 7 p.m. and the fourth Thursday of every month, walk-in intakes are available for those looking for education, information or treatment for addictions.

The latest addition is the Oxford Health Links team which is beginning to work with community partners and patients who need intensive support through community care plans for co-ordinated services.

Longworth said she was very pleased that the owners of Pharmasave, who own the building that INPLC is housed in, have supported the mental health initiatives.

“They are so supportive of holistic wellness in this building,” she said. “We will continue to be loud about supporting those who want to improve their physical and mental health and wellness. It is our commitment to the community.”

HRivers@postmedia.com

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