By Rosemary Smith
What are the people in Waterloo Region most concerned about? Where do we need to improve and what are we doing well? Where should we, as a community, devote time and energy if we want to ensure that our community is a healthy, vital place to live, work, play, and raise a family?
Some of those answers can be found in Waterloo Region’s Vital Signs®, a report released jointly by The Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation (KWCF) and the Cambridge & North Dumfries Community Foundation (CNDCF).
The report provides a quality-of-life snapshot about the region and helps spark discussion and inspire action from our residents and stakeholders in our cities and townships. On October 25th, our two foundations invited interested community members to a Community Impact Discussion to learn about the future plans for the Waterloo Region’s Vital Signs report. We also used the opportunity to shine a light on one of the quality of life areas in the report – Health and Wellness – specifically mental health.
We shared some of the feedback we gleaned from our 2011 in-depth evaluation of the report, noting our renewed commitment to continuing the work of Waterloo Region’s Vital Signs. In the future, we will be delving deeper into the priority areas outlined in the report.
In addition, guest presenters led a discussion about mental health in our community. They provided data and information and identified local initiatives making a difference in the community.
However, the highlight of the event was the story of Johanna, as shared by her mother. Since the age of 19, Johanna struggled with mental health and addiction problems. While sad, her impactful story helped to encourage the dispelling of myths and stigmas associated with mental health – a great example of Vital Signs at work!
Rosemary Smith is Chief Executive Officer of The Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation