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Mental health conference to teach 'coping mechanisms' for anxiety

'If we are all lucky enough to live to 100 years old, we are going to experience major amounts of grief. We are never taught how to cope with it,' says organizer
A mental health-focused conference hosted by Holistic Healing Fair is coming to St. Paul’s Centre on May 5. From left are Ginny Connon, who will be speaking about resilience at the event, Vanessa Wilson, the event founder and coordinator, and Kenesha Tuesdai Lewis, who will be speaking about the 'mindset for manifesting.'

A mental health-focused conference is coming to St. Paul’s Centre this spring.

Organized by Holistic Healing Fair founder and event coordinator Vanessa Wilson, the Take What You Need Conference takes place on May 5, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The event features keynote speakers that will share helpful tips, coping mechanisms, perspective shifts, and more. Each attendee will be given a "wellness toolkit" of knowledge, as well as a booklet filled with wellness tips.

“Things like coping mechanisms, how to handle grief, and breathing techniques to calm the nervous system are all things that should be taught in school,” Wilson said. “People shouldn’t have to go through debilitating anxiety.”

Wilson, 34, hopes that the event will pass along skills and knowledge to help with anxiety and mental health.

“This event is for all ages and walks of life,” she said.

While the Park Street Collegiate Institute graduate runs wellness events all over Ontario, this is the first time she is organizing a conference.

“Growing up in Orillia I experienced a lot of people suffering from addiction and mental health,” she said. “The destruction of what our society is going through is really motivating to bring something like this forward.”  

Tickets cost $33.96 and proceeds will be donated to the Jake Beers Creative & Mental Health Fund.

“I’ve listened to Jake Beers' music and I love the HxmeSweetHxme fund,” she said. “They really do advocate for the Orillia Youth Centre which lost so many musicians in a short time to suicide and addictions.”

Wilson says it’s important for there to be something in the community, such as the Jake Beers Creative & Mental Health Fund and HxmeSweetHxme brand, to give back to youth and inspire them.

When participants leave the conference, Wilson hopes they will be able to apply their newfound knowledge and tools to their lives and share them with the people they love.

“If we are all lucky enough to live to 100 years old, we are going to experience major amounts of grief,” she said. “We are never taught how to cope with it or move forward with it.”

Wilson says all the guest speakers at the upcoming conference have experienced their own pain which led them to their own healing journey of being able to teach others.

There will be 400 tickets made available for the event, and even if you can’t attend you can purchase gifted tickets for people who are on a waiting list because they can’t afford to attend the event.  

“We have had six people gifted tickets exchanged already,” Wilson said. “Six people who messaged our page to say they can’t afford to come but would like to have received tickets, which is really nice.”

Wilson says she is looking for local community sponsors to help cover the costs of the event. Those who are interested in sponsoring can email her at [email protected]


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Tyler Evans

About the Author: Tyler Evans

Tyler Evans got his start in the news business when he was just 15-years-old and now serves as a video producer and reporter with OrilliaMatters
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