Sudbury·Audio

Sudbury's Northern Initiative for Social Action keeps growing

A Sudbury mental health group opened the doors to a bigger, better location on Monday. And that's good news for about 500 people in the city who live with mental health issues and go there for support.
Scott Glover and Terry Pretz meet every morning to paint together at the Northern Initiative for Social Action, a centre run by and for people living with mental health issues. (Marina von Stackelberg)

A Sudbury mental health group opened the doors to a bigger, better location on Monday. And that's good news for about 500 people in the city who live with mental health issues and go there for support.

Friends Scott Glover and Terry Pretz meet every morning to paint together at the Northern Initiative for Social Action, or NISA, which gives them the space to do so.

Glover lives with bipolar disorder and Pretz battles depression.

But NISA is a safe and welcoming space for the friends.

The 17-year-old centre is run by and for people living with mental health issues.

NISA helps to make sure that people aren't so isolated,  Pretz said.

"[It] really helps brighten [our] day by just being there.”

Glover said it's the routine of meeting Pretz that helps him get out of bed.

"We inspire each other to keep going, you know, Glover said.

“It's like I want to sleep in that morning, and I [think], ‘oh no, Terry's going to be on that bus at 8 a.m. I should be on that bus too.’"

LHIN steps up investment

On Monday, NISA opened a new space twice the size of its old location.

It needed more room for art, peer support, computer, and sewing programs, in addition to a telephone support line.

The Local Health Integration Network clearly agrees that what NISA does works.

It now provides up to 80 per cent of NISA's funding.

The continued investment is good for people like Pretz, who says going to NISA helps to keep him feeling stable.

 "It's either that or back in and out of the hospital,” he said.

“This actually helps you keep a routine, to get out, to do something, to socialize [and to] belong."

In the last five years, NISA's staff and programming have ballooned.

The non-profit has gone from five employees to thirty-seven, and has seen its budget increase from $200,000 to more than $1 million.

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