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Melanie KnappDear Editor

Feast in the Field was the title of a dinner event I was part of in the summer. I found the title a little daunting. Would we have seats? Would there be a fire? Would there be enough food for everyone? Yes! Everything was planned beautifully. It was a sit down - four course dinner, under a tent in the field at Gleason Brook Winery.

NeighbourWoods North is a group that has a ten-year plan to green the grounds of GBHS Hospital. They will make it a peaceful yet vivacious place for people to benefit from the natural surroundings. This means, among other things, lots of trees and flowers.

The dinner was presented to raise funds for a healing path that will be created through the grounds that are getting greener. I was to say a speech on the benefits of nature for people with mental health issues. I represented the Family and Patient Advisory Council for GBHS who strive to help make things better for mental health patients.

I was nervous and my stomach was a little queasy. The food was delicate and flavourful. Would I make it through the wonderful yet passionate people talking ahead of me, to give my speech? I used positive self-talk, like I had learned, to get me through to the speech.

Once I was up there I knew I had the chance to get the people to listen to me. I was talking on behalf of people visiting the mental health floor as patients. I was emotional, enthusiastic and hopefully inspiring. Numerous people visiting the mental health floor of the hospital say that nature is extremely beneficial to their well-being. Luckily, the ten year project gives nature’s therapeutic assistance to all patients.

I gave the speech my best! I am thankful to the welcoming warmth of Gleason Brook Winery. I also wanted the NeighbourWoods North group to know they make a difference with their volunteering and team-work as well as their naturalization plans at GBHS. As well I wanted people to know that people that are mental health patients are not that different than others. They are excited to feel the healing effects of more nature like trees and flowers on the hospital grounds.

Melanie Knapp
Patient Advocate

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