EVELYN – a free suicide prevention event presented by the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute

Friday 22 November 2019: Suicide prevention is the theme of mental health awareness campaigns in Bermuda this year. It’s the reason the Mental Health Awareness Committee at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute chose to screen EVELYN, a moving documentary which chronicles one family’s unique effort to come to terms with the suicide of their son and brother, Evelyn.

“Suicide is a difficult subject for many people to talk about or try and face,” said Shanay Scott, chairperson of the Mental Health Awareness Committee and organiser of the free screening event.

“We encourage not only those in our community who have lost loved ones to suicide, to attend this event, but anyone interested in the subject. Human Resources professionals, counsellors and clergy may gain deeper insight and understanding that may better equip them to help survivors as well as those contemplating suicide.”

Critically acclaimed, EVELYN was created by the Academy Award winning filmmakers of The White Helmets and Virunga.  It follows Evelyn’s family 14 years after his death as they decide to walk the length of the UK to try and talk about him – something they had failed to do until that time.

Free to the public, EVELYN will be shown at 3:30pm on Sunday 1 December at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI). Doors will open at 3pm and a brief panel discussion will follow the screening.

For more information email shanay.scott@bhb.bm.

 Click here to see a trailer of  EVELYN 

EVELYN flyer

22 November 2019 Home Page, News

A Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute Easter story: Gregory’s labour of love

17 April 2019: There’s no disputing that Gregory Simons is a caring person ideally suited to working in healthcare, although he’s spent the majority of his life with the Department of Corrections.

He became a nurses’ aide at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (MWI) five years ago, having retired from Westgate Correctional Facility after 24 years of service. Nurses’ aides provide life skills support for MWI service users. Currently in the position at MWI residential unit Devon Lodge, Gregory is part of the team that helps the 21 residents do their laundry, dress and bathe themselves, fold their clothes, etc.

Gregory says he loves the job. Recently it’s become clear just how much, as he’s voluntarily assumed more responsibility teaching arts and crafts to the residents.

“I did not like seeing the service users sitting around doing nothing,” he says.

Gregory spent 17 years as the recreational coordinator for Westgate, and he’s using those skills to engage the service users at Devon Lodge. Working primarily with the four service users who aren’t involved in other programmes during the day, he has led them in making Easter decorations, including Easter baskets and kites.

He plans to work on projects for each festive season. The next will be Bermuda Day.

“My goal is to get more service users involved,” Gregory says. “When they go out to smoke, I go out and say you need to come and do this project with us. I’m aiming to keep them so engaged they won’t find as much time for smoking and the like.”

And Gregory’s involvement isn’t just teaching arts and crafts. He has planned activities for Easter Sunday that will involve all the service users.

“We’ve made baskets for each of the service users,” he says. “On Easter Sunday they will comb the courtyard area here in an Easter egg hunt.”

Devon Lodge Clinical Manager Dawn Smith says Gregory’s enthusiasm has been great not just for the service users, but also other staff.

“He brings a joyous attitude to the workplace which is impactful and hopefully infectious,” she says. “We feel very privileged to have him here.”

For Gregory, the work is rewarding and fulfilling.

“I knew that I would love this,” he says. “My mother used to be in Lefroy House and I would visit her several times a week, staying to feed her and help the matron and nurses with feeding other residents and general help for everyone there. I used to volunteer and drive the bus to transport the Lefroy residents to various appointments and events.”

At 61, Gregory shows no signs of slowing down on his workload. For him, it’s clearly a labour of love.

17 April 2019 Home Page, News