A public get-together will be held in St. John's this week to further expose and discuss issues surrrounding mental health.
The town hall-style gathering is set for Wednesday night at St. Teresa's parish hall on Mundy Pond Road in St. John's.
It will be hosted by NDP MHA Gerry Rogers, with guest panelists Andy Jones and Mary-Lynn Bernard, who recently lost a son to suicide, and mental health advocates Mark Gruchy, Roger Baggs, Paula Corcoran, and advocate/actor Mary Walsh.
The evening will begin with an hour of "candid discussion" of each panelist's experience and assessment of mental health services in the province.
"What they see as positives, the gaps in the system, best practices in other places, and what they would most like to see," said Rogers.
That will be followed by small-group discussions of possible solutions, with each group reporting back to the larger meeting.
Rogers said she'll pass on the results during subsequent meetings with the ministers of Health, Advanced Education and Skills, and Justice.
She said she fields calls every day about mental health and addictions issues.
"It's people looking for services for themselves or family members. They are concerned about long wait lists, lack of services, and housing issues. Many people don't know where to turn for help, or if they do know where to go, there are daunting waiting lists.
"Sometimes it's the family or friends of people in crisis, sometimes it's an individual who desperately needs help with addictions or other issues. So we decided to have a town hall where we could all have a conversation."
Wednesday's town hall runs from 7-9 p.m., with wheelchair accessibility and sign language interpretation for the hearing impaired.