Programs

Peer Support

You are not alone. Your peers are here to accompany you shoulder-to-shoulder as you navigate your recovery. There are many ways you can access peer support at NISA, in groups or one-to-one.

  • Peer Support Groups
  • One-to-one Peer Support Sessions
  • Telephone Support (Regional Warm Line)
  • Mom-to-mom Post-partum Support Group
  • Family Support
  • Wellness Recovery

Creative Expression

Sometimes we have no words for our experience. Sometimes we have a lot. No matter how you express yourself, you will have the chance at NISA to tap into your self and share it with others.

 

In The Artists’ Loft you can work individually or with others. Beginners and professionals alike are welcome to come explore in pencil, charcoal, watercolour or acrylics. You can also join in the art workshops that are offered during the year.

It feels good to express yourself and to be heard and understood, and that’s what we practice in The Writers’ Circle. Having the skills to put your experience into words is useful personally and professionally. Narrative writing has been shown to help some people process and recover from traumatic experiences. Writing helps you make sense of your world, and The Writers’ Circle provides space and resources to do that.

NISA’s weekly Writers’ Circle meets on Tuesdays from 1-3 p.m. The group is always open to new members, providing a supportive and educational space to explore the craft and value of writing. To learn more or to get involved, contact Sabine Gorenki at writerscircle@nisa.on.ca or by phone at 705-222-6472 ext. 303

In June 2019, members of the Writers’ Circle and NISA launched an official blog!

The blog—appropriately titled Writing in Circles—is a place for writing and reflection: some of the work may touch directly on people’s mental health, some may touch on intersecting topics, and some will simply explore and develop the craft of writing.

The writers involved hope to showcase the diverse experiences of people who have faced mental health challenges; to create a direct connection to the stories and voices of these people; and to encourage thought, conversation, and understanding.

Check out some of the contributions so far by going to: www.writingincircles.blog. Share it with others who enjoy reading, and, if you would like to learn about how to have your own writing included in the blog, contact us at writerscircle@nisa.on.ca 

NISA’s literary magazine, Open Minds Quarterly, welcomes writing and art from people with lived experience of what is variously called mental health challenges, mental illness, madness, neurodiversity etc.

Wellness Recovery

NISA believes that the whole person is important, and when you are here you will consider the many dimensions of wellness, like physical, emotional, financial, spiritual, and social wellness, to name a few. Our monthly calendar is full of opportunities to explore your wellness, with groups often offered in topics like meditation and yarn work. Come to our Recovery/Wellness group to discuss a wellness topic, or take part in active living or outings.

Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) is a self-help system developed for people with a variety of mental illnesses and is a valuable tool for those looking to create positive change, to increase wellness through health (physical and psychological), and decrease occurrence rates of acute episodes of illness. NISA runs 8-week sessions where members meet once per week, working in groups to assist each other and develop their individual WRAP® plans. WRAP® provides a proactive approach to incorporating skills and wellness strategies into daily living, rather than relying on them only in times of crisis. Registration is required.

During each 8-week session, participants will work through the various stages including:

Daily Maintenance Plan

• Develop a description of how you feel when you are well
• List everything that needs to be done on a daily basis to stay well
• List reminders that you may need to help you stay on track

Triggers

• Identify events or situations that might result in onset of symptoms
• Plan what to do if any of these triggers occur

Early Warning Signs

• Recognize subtle signs
• Plan what to do if you notice early warning signs

Pre-Crisis Planning

• List symptoms that indicate that you now need outside information or can no longer stay safe on your own. Develop a plan that your support can use as a guide.

Post-Crisis Planning

• Taking into account that you are still recovering, this plan is for gradually increasing your daily activities.
• The WRAP groups are limited to 8 participants per session and pre-registration is required.

For more information about WRAP, and to become involved, please contact us at 705-222-6472, or by email info@nisa.on.ca

Meaningful Work

We believe that you have a say in your own recovery journey. When you come to NISA you are ready to take responsibility for your steps forward, and for the wellness of those around you. NISA aims to Feel the satisfaction of doing a good job, knowing that your work is benefiting someone else in the community. At NISA, you can do that in the Northern Computer Recycling Depot (we call it ‘NCRD’) or in Warm Hearts/Warm Bodies, our quilting program.

NCRD is a peer-run program that aims to provide meaningful and socially valued work/training opportunities for consumers of mental health services. We receive, repair and refurbish donated computers and sell them at an affordable cost to individuals and organizations within our community. NCRD has always offered more than just fixing computers. It is a supportive and flexible setting in which consumers learn how to perform computer recycling and maintenance. We provide a safe environment for people with lived experience to build skills and confidence.
Some volunteers have a lot of computer knowledge, while others have less, but everyone brings a willingness to learn and contribute using their various strengths.

The general services that we offer to the public at NCRD are:

• Data Backup and Recovery
• Computer Repair
• Computer Upgrading
• Networking
• Software Installation
• Computer Recycling
• Virus/Malware Removal

What we sell are:

• Refurbished Computers/ with Windows 10 and Office 2010
• LCD Monitors
• Keyboards & Mice
• Many other accessories and peripherals

Our Lead Technician, Darick Hongell, also regularly facilitates a six-week computer basics course. The course is broken down into:

• A basic introduction to the computer
• The features of Windows 10 and using it productively
• Using files, folders, shortcuts and the internet
• Signing up and using email with Windows Live Mail
• Using Microsoft Word
• Security and privacy when using a computer

If you would like more information about how to participate in NCRD, if you need repairs on your computer, for pricing, or how to donate or request a computer, please contact our Lead Technician, Darick Hongell, at 705-222-6472 ext. 302, or by email, ncrd@nisa.on.ca.

Donations

NISA is appreciative of all community support. We accept donations of gently used computer parts including towers, mice, keyboards, flat screen monitors, laptops, and hard drives. We thank you thinking of NISA and we are able to provide a charitable receipt to thank you for your donation.

To ensure that the security of all members and the space is met, we ask that you do not donate your computer, or parts, if your home has had problems with bugs.

Warm Hearts/Warm Bodies is a NISA program that solicits and receives donations of materials, fabric and textiles for the creation of quilts, blankets and comforters for people within our community who are in need. Warm Hearts/Warm Bodies reduces waste by re-using materials, provides a valued service to the less fortunate, and helps program participants acquire useful skills.

NISA has also become a depot for distributing blankets, quilts and comforters to those in the community who require them, such as the homeless, premature infants, or those living in emergency shelters. Other organizations depend on NISA to distribute their quilts and blankets to the community, providing some extra warmth during our cold winters. We also offer introductory classes in sewing and knitting.

In the past year, our annual blanket drive program has continued to hum along with members producing quilts for our annual donation to Foyer Notre Dame Outreach Program. Talented members and community members have facilitated workshops on how to make tote bags, aprons, oven mitts, and of course, honing down basic quilt-making and sewing skills.

Keep an eye on our monthly activity calendar to see what Warm Hearts/Warm Bodies workshops are available for you to participate in!

Year-round, NISA accepts material such as cloth and wool to make quilts. If you have donations of quilts, blankets or comforters (new or gently used), please contact us at 705-222-6472 to arrange a drop-off. They will be distributed to Foyer Notre Dame in the winter to people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Donations

NISA is appreciative of all community support. Material for quilting is gratefully accepted. We accept donations of fabric (please pre-wash, if possible) including cottons, polyester/cotton blends, and bed sheets. Please note: items that cannot be washed (suede, leather) are not accepted
Call us ahead of time if you are looking to donate sewing supplies including thread, needles, and pins.

Unfortunately, we may not be able to accept all donations. There are other places you can provide your donation including: Value Village, the Salvation Army and the Jarret Centre. We are able to provide a charitable receipt to thank you for your donation.

Social Action

NISA regularly participates in the community, offering presentations, organizing events, and advocating for the needs of people living with mental health challenges / illness. If this is your passion, talk to us! We’ll find a way to get you involved.

Research

NISA was created out of research, and we continue to believe that if we ask the right questions, the answers can improve life for all of us. If you enjoy research, or you want to join a research team, NISA’s ParNorth Research Unit regularly partners with community researchers to ask questions about the experience of mental health recovery and other topics important to us. Our annual 3B Survey measures how well NISA is doing in meeting the needs of its members, and guides our decisionmaking. You can help by assisting with the research process. Just ask how.