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Messages - QV

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Hey Peter, if you need help with signing up for the group let me know. I can get that done for you. :)

General Discussion / Re: Checking-in - Happy New Year
« on: March 12, 2021, 11:18:22 am »
Hi Peter,

It is great to hear from you as well. It is good to hear that you are coping and can still go out shopping and such.
I have put an announcement post letting everyone know that Paul has passed away. He was such a kind soul and we were fortunate to have him with us for a long time.


Announcements / In Memoriam: Paul Morton (paulm), Hope + Me Volunteer
« on: February 05, 2021, 02:35:12 pm »
In Memoriam: Paul Morton

With great sadness we inform you of the passing of Paul Morton (paulm) on January 22nd, 2021. 

Well-known, dedicated, and a respected community supporter, Mr. Morton was current facilitator of the Midland Peer Support group and Moderator of online forums at Hope + Me - MDAO. 

Paul was a respected and accomplished leader within Hope + Me - MDAO community.

He first became involved with Hope + Me - MDAO in 1997 as the facilitator of the Midland Peer Support Group.  Paul?s tremendous empathy became a part of many participants? recovery journeys.  Paul also reached out to participants who could not join the Midland group in person.  He visited local hospitals to provide support to our members, never missing a meeting or a chance to provide those in need his empathetic listening ear.

In 2000, with his outstanding leadership skills, Paul spearheaded a regional conference for support groups and attended numerous such conferences in the following years.

Paul was also Ontario Regional Coordinator for more than seven years while supervising Hope + Me?s affiliates across the province.

Beginning in 2011, Paul acted as Moderator of the Hope + Me - MDAO online support forum.  He replied personally to hundreds of requests from people seeking information about mental health services and how to find the path to well-being.

Most respectably, Paul was the premiere winner of the Karen Liberman Lit From Within Award for his tremendous contributions and dedicated volunteer services, and featured in the book Dancing in the Rain.  He was also keynote speaker for the 2015 Annual General Meeting and many other Hope + Me events. 

In one of his speeches, Paul said to us: ?Although I can?t make a contribution to society by working - and that bothers me - I do make a contribution by volunteering.  I volunteer all the time.  And partially for selfish reasons, because it makes me feel good about myself, and this illness often takes away your feeling good about yourself.?

General Discussion / Checking-in - Happy New Year
« on: February 05, 2021, 11:16:04 am »
Hello everyone,

I hope the new year with COVID-19 has not been too challenging for all of us. I am creating this thread to see how everyone is doing. Please feel free to drop a response to check in.

I am doing OK myself working from home. It is not ideal but I try my best to stay virtually connected with co-workers, friends, and families.

Let me know how you are doing.

General Discussion / Nourishment and Me: Food and Body Image Group
« on: February 05, 2021, 11:06:08 am »
Each year in Canada, February 1st to February 7th marks Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW). It is a week to honour all those affected by struggles with eating and body image, a week of public education about such struggles, and a week of action and advocacy to increase supports and services.

At Hope + Me, we?re taking up this call to action by launching a new peer support group called Nourishment & Me: Food & Body Image Group. This group is a peer-run drop-in support group for all those facing eating and body image concerns. The group is supportive, open to people of all genders, and welcoming to anybody who self-identifies as experiencing struggles with food and body image or who are curious about exploring their relationship to food and the body. 

Importantly, this is not a weight-loss group. We will not be engaging in diet culture nor will we be promoting singular definitions of health and wellness. Instead, we will collectively create a weight-inclusive, body-compassionate space that allows for participants to self-determine what body peace means to them and to support one another along the way.

Nourishment & Me will meet at 7:00 PM bi-weekly on the 2nd and 4th Monday of every month. Meetings will be held virtually via WebEx. A link to access each meeting will be shared with registration to the group. (

COVID-19 has drastically affected the multiple dimensions of the quality of our lives.  Amongst trying to navigate these challenging times, there are those whose food, eating, and body image struggles have been negatively impacted and amplified.  In a way, these COVID-19 circumstances have created a perfect storm for body shaming and adverse eating behaviours to flourish.  The uncertainty has heightened anxieties, furthering a feeling of loss of control, which results in the increased need for control through food, eating, numbers, and body image. 

With stay at home and social distancing restrictions, individuals can find themselves in isolated situations or in close quarters with family dysfunction and/or abusive relationships without access to social support. These activating environments can flood us with emotion, increasing the risk of self-harm. Another risk to those with body, food, and eating challenges is the change in access to food for meal plans.  With lockdowns, stockpiling large amounts of food can urge one to spiral into dangerous eating and food behaviours.  Moreover, the lack of structure to our days, increased time on social media and technology greatly disrupts our efforts to counter the negative thought patterns; for example, COVID-19 diets, fat or lazy shaming, comparisons with others, and our learned capitalistic mentalities of productivity and efficiency. 
Food, eating, and body image challenges are more than about food, weight, or the numbers.  Many who struggle also have co-occurring conditions such as anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, etc.  These aspects also intersect with our socio-economic, racial, gender, and sexual orientations, which all influence access and quality of the care we receive. A multidisciplinary collaborative team approach to healing and nourishing both the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual are essential.  COVID-19 has diminished treatment access, and impacted face-to-face therapies, forcing support and accountability to an online virtual delivery. 

The current situation is unusual where the change was so rapid that therapists, professionals, organizations, and hospitals are scrambling to adapt and transition to a new way of supporting their participants and clients. The professionals are also not immune to their own stresses and circumstances whilst upholding their client?s confidentiality and other ethical parameters. There is already a shortage of treatment programs and services for those struggling with food, eating, and body image issues, the waiting lists are lengthy, and those who are struggling cannot afford to wait.  The ongoing gaps in services have been highlighted during COVID-19 and we are adapting and increasing opportunities for those who are in need to access the support necessary to get through these uncertain times. 

-Marie T., social work placement student

Announcements / Welcome to MDAO Forum
« on: February 05, 2021, 11:00:58 am »
Hello everyone,

My name is QV and I am the Manager of Peer Support Program at MDAO. We have made some updates to the forum and we are promoting the forum again as a place that participants can posts questions and seeking supports. The peer support team including myself will monitor the forum and answer questions whenever we are around. Please feel free to message me with any questions or concerns.

Happy posting!  :)

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