At a recent Refugee Meeting chaired by Jeff Burch, we were collectively impressed with the amount of people, money and other resources that have been brought together for the Syrian refugees, including the offer of mental health services. CMHA, in its small contribution to the effort, is currently providing Mental Health First Aid to the 18 staff at the Welland Multicultural Centre. As a committee we congratulated ourselves and Niagara on our ability to reach out and support our fellow human beings. Good on us…..and….

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could garner this kind of support for our most vulnerable, all of the time? We have tragedies in our community with fellow citizens literally dying in the streets. Can we coalesce around their needs as well as we have for the Syrian refugees?

I am hopeful. At least this experience teaches us that we can come together to support those in need. The Syrian crisis has reminded us of our common humanity. Let’s take this experience as a vote of confidence in our ability to respond constructively to those in need including those suffering with mental illness in our community. Once again, I am hopeful.