Programs

Recovery Wellness

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. Our monthly calendar is full of opportunities to explore your wellness.

At NISA, we offer a variety of formal groups with the focus on recovery and wellness. 

Our Recovery/Wellness groups run weekly and involve topic-based structured discussion, where the themes revolve around recovery-based topics such as self-esteem and positive affirmations. 

Many of our members share with us that along with living with the realities of mental illness, they often struggle with chronic illness – diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis or cancer. We have also offered various workshops informing members of housing rights and their rights on the Ontario Disability Support Program and will continue to organize these sessions according to member interest. Therapeutic activities around art and writing will be available throughout the year. We also offer life and personal skills building workshops. We are responsive to the needs of our members. If you have a suggestion, please feel free to discuss it with our staff.

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.

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. 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.

ParNorth is the research branch of NISA offering consumers an environment for exploring and discussing practical questions about mental health and illness. The “Par” in ParNorth stands for Participatory Action Research. This is a social research method by which the actual participants in a social situation learn to examine what is happening to them and to describe it as a significant, observable process.ParNorth invites mental health consumers to think seriously about what is important in their lives; to examine personal and social issues in a way that develops research and discussion skills; and to translate these issues and experiences into meaningful and workable research questions.

NISA aims to utilize the knowledge acquired to enhance the mental health, well-being, and quality of life for persons with a mental illness, and to provide an educated and well-informed voice on policies which affect psychiatric consumers. This is done in conjunction with a Northeast Mental Health Centre Occupational Therapist/Clinical Researcher. ParNorth offers consultation services to groups interested in learning about the uniqueness of the NISA model.

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.

Developing Skills and Goals

NISA aims to help you 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.

Northern Computer Recycling Depot (NCRD)

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.

Warm Hearts/ Warm Bodies (WH/WB)

Warm Hearts/Warm Bodies is a program that uses donations of materials, fabric and textiles for the creation of quilts, blankets and comforters for people within our community who are in need. WH/WB provides a valued service and helps program participants acquire useful skills.

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. Our creative expression programs include Artists’ Loft, the Writers’ Circle, and Open Minds Quarterly.

The Artists’ Loft provides the opportunity for artists to participate in the fine arts, develop skills and to exhibit their work within the community. Like The Writers’ Circle, The Artists’ Loft encourages the expression of the experience of living with a mental illness and aims to educate society through the exhibition of these expressions in socially-connected community settings.
Our artists — beginners and professionals — explore the many types of media, from acrylics and oils, to sculpture and wood-burning. Stop in at NISA to see our permanent exhibition of artwork created here in The Artist’s Loft. You’re certain to find a piece that moves you.

NISA aims to utilize the knowledge acquired to enhance the mental health, well-being, and quality of life for persons with a mental illness, and to provide an educated and well-informed voice on policies which affect psychiatric consumers. This is done in conjunction with a Northeast Mental Health Centre Occupational Therapist/Clinical Researcher. ParNorth offers consultation services to groups interested in learning about the uniqueness of the NISA model.

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 Gorecki at writerscircle@nisa.on.ca or by phone at 705-222-6472 ext. 303

 

Writing in Circles 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.

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

 

Open Minds Quarterly

Open Minds Quarterly is a literary journal that features explorations of life in a mad world. More specifically, it welcomes writing and art from people with lived experience of what is variously called mental health challenges, mental illness, madness, neurodiversity etc.