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Updated: Jun 30, 2023

A pilot project to demonstrate the power of the arts to heal is recruiting participants. Healing Through Art is open to six to eight individuals between the ages of 18 and 29 who want to improve their mental health and will commit to 16 weeks of sessions.

“We’ve seen the impact of expressive arts so many times through our community Art Hive,” says Green Wood Executive Director David Sheffield. “People often tell us they’ve tapped into something, found a way to shut off the other noises in their lives. Our approach is that everyone has this creativity in them. Our work is about healing first and art second.”

For years, Green Wood has wanted to compile data to prove the efficacy of art as a low-cost, non-clinical approach to healing for individuals who have experienced trauma, mental illness and substance dependency. Through this pilot, funded by Cameco’s Step Up For Mental Health, participant feedback will make this possible, opening the door for others to model the Green Wood experience.

“People suffering with mental illness and substance dependency are among the most isolated and disconnected individuals in our community,” Sheffield says. “The cost of their unmet needs is shared across various emergency services. There’s a place for preventive options.”

Art Therapist Edward Hagedorn, who is advising Green Wood on the project, says creating a safe place to explore self-expression without fear of judgment or criticism can offer people a sense of human connection and accomplishment they may have never experienced before.

“If you want to deepen the relationship in the group, art will do that. If you create safety and someone has the courage to do art for the first time and expose themselves in a group that holds them in safety... it’s like being held by a caring person."

To participate in this free program contact

Love a good story? Join us for a Virtual Book Club featuring Denise Davy's recent book, 'Her Name was Margaret: Life and Death on the Streets'. Award-winning journalist, Denise Davy, brings a compassionate and very personal lens to to homelessness and mental illness through the true story of Margaret Jacobson.

Denise Davy was no stranger to investigating tough stories, but when she met Margaret Jacobson, the girl's heartbreaking story stood out to her. Once a happy and healthy young woman, Jacobson suffered a psychotic break in her teens. By the time Davy met her, Jacobson had been in and out of countless institutions, before her life ended following a period of homelessness. Struck by how the system had failed Jacobson, Davy set out to tell her story.

Pick up a copy of 'Her Name was Margaret' at Furby House Books in Port Hope or Let's Talk Books in Cobourg, or just join us for the discussion.

Thursday, March 24, 7:00 PM

Coldest Night of the Year is a national (local walks support local charities), family-friendly walk that fuels the community outreach work of Green Wood. It's our biggest fundraiser of the year. If you'd like to register to walk or support a walker, click on the link below--and thank you!

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