A naloxone kit. (Photo courtesy of www.mediarelations.uwo.ca)

Health agencies hosting second mental health open house

Sarnia-Lambton residents have the opportunity to learn about local addictions and mental health services this Saturday.

Bluewater Health is coordinating an open house consisting of 25 community agencies at 900 Devine St. from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Withdrawal Management Project Assistant Laurie Hicks said if you or someone close to you is dealing with addiction and mental health, you’re not alone.

“If you’re looking for help for yourself, a friend, or a loved one, you will find a connection at the open house. We’ve got agencies from withdrawal management, detox rehab facilities, several mental health agencies, support groups, housing, and everything in between,” said Hicks. “People that attend are going to walk away with a better understanding of the illness of addiction and mental health, to know where to get help for yourself or for someone else, and you have an opportunity to ask questions and get the proper answers and put some of the mistruth and misunderstandings to rest.”

Hicks, whose son Ryan passed away from a Fentanyl overdose in March of 2015, said she was unaware of the local services available at the time.

“Usually people don’t reach out and look for help until there’s a crisis and that’s when we scramble. But if we know what’s available and kind of keep the information in your back pocket, if the time ever comes where you need help you’re more educated and aware of at least where to start.”

Hicks said they decided to host the open house following the success of the inaugural event last year.

“We had between 400 and 500 people walk through the door, so it’s needed and it’s something that people are looking for,” she said. “Some of the people that were there last year were doctors looking for places to refer their patients, teachers wanting to know warning signs in their students and how to talk to them, families looking for help to understand and cope with addiction in their own home, people struggling with addiction and mental health themselves looking for another option available to them within the community.”

Hicks said the open house will directly address the current opioid epidemic.

“Lambton Public Health will be there and they’ll be doing training and giving out naloxone kits. They’re a life-saving kit and it goes hand-in-hand with the Good Samaritan Act, where if you are in a situation where you don’t want the police there because you’re afraid, the act protects everybody. Use the naloxone kit, save the life, call 9-1-1, and there’s no repercussions.”

For more information on Saturday’s open house, click here.