Recreation for Mental Health - Inclusive Project

What is the Recreation for Mental Health - Inclusive Project?

The original Recreation for Mental Health project began in 2013 as a collaborative effort between Recreation NS, Dalhousie University and the Canadian Association for Mental Health. The purpose of the project was to bring together practitioners and academics from the fields of recreation and mental health to do the work necessary to create welcoming, inclusive recreation spaces, places and programs for people with mental illness or mental health challenges.

During that project, the research indicated that the physical, social, and mental benefits of recreation for people with mental illness or mental health challenges are boundless. After extensive research, a half-day training workshop for recreation practitioners as well as a set of practice guidelines for organizations, and an interactive learning/training tool called the Recreation for Mental Health Game were developed.

The training and tools have been really well received however necessary work needs to be completed to ensure that the training and tools are culturally relevant and sensitive to the needs of participants in a variety of settings. The lived experiences of persons with mental health challenges and illnesses are different in African Nova Scotian, Indigenous, 2SLBGTQIA+ and Newcomer communities.

Whether it is conceptions of mental illness, stigma attributed to mental illness, and expectations of the recreation provider system, this project works towards discussing these perspectives with those that work in this area to ensure the provision of culturally appropriate programming with target communities.

Our Main Objectives

Objective # 1: To support African Nova Scotian, Mi’kmaq, Newcomer and 2SLGBTQ+ communities in addressing stigma in their communities.

Objective # 2: To increase the number of Recreation for Mental Health workshops being offered to African Nova Scotians, Mi’kmaq, Newcomers and LGBTQ individuals.

Objective #3: To increase the number of staff and community volunteers with the tools and knowledge to create culturally relevant, welcoming, inclusive, safe and supportive programs and places for people with mental health challenges.

Objective #4: To build capacity in the target communities by mentoring and certifying at least 5 people with lived experience as Trainers who can teach or co-facilitate the workshop once the project is over.

The Plan- May 2021-March 2022

R4MH pic for website

How Can You Help

Your knowledge and experience of mental health and participation in recreation is in valuable in helping us create a workshop that will help EVERYONE who is experiencing poor mental health or mental illness.

  • Consider attending a free Recreation for Mental Health Workshop and providing your feedback.
  • Consider becoming a Trainer who represents African Nova Scotian, Mi’kmaq, Newcomer and 2SLGBTQ+ communities.
  • Email Seana Jewer () to talk about your ideas and experiences with recreation and mental health.

Info on R4MH Training

The Opportunity:

Recreation Nova Scotia is hosting free online Recreation for Mental Health workshops.

Normally, the cost of the training is $30.00 which includes a copy of Rec4MH Participant Manual. We are offering these sessions free to collect feedback on the workshop. We want this workshop to reflect the diverse mental health experiences people have within the African Nova Scotian, Indigenous, 2SLBGTQIA+ and Newcomer communities. If you identify with one of these communities and actively participate in recreation or are a Recreation Practitioner serving these communities, we would love your input!

About the R4MH Workshop:

This interactive session will be Trainer led and will introduce participants to evidence-based guidelines and actions that will help recreation practitioners make their programs, places and spaces more welcoming and accessible to people experiencing mental health challenges.

Recreation can play a pivotal role in the mental health recovery process and is important for the maintenance of mental wellness for all people.

Because of the connections between recreation, mental wellness and social equity, equitable access to recreation is key to increasing wellness and social equity overall.

Participants will

  • explore how mental health impacts everyone's life
  • look at the impact of stigma and learn how to reduce it
  • explore the barriers people face and brainstorm strategies and supports necessary for participation in community recreation
  • be introduced to 10 practice guidelines and 50+ action steps for positive change
  • begin to create an action plan for your organization

How to Register:

Please email Seana at to find out when the next training is available.

Info for Train the Trainer

The Opportunity:

Recreation Nova Scotia is training Trainers for the Recreation for Mental Health workshop that represents the diverse mental health experiences people have within the African Nova Scotian, Indigenous, 2SLBGTQIA+ and Newcomer communities. If you are a Recreation Practitioner who identifies with one of these communities, we would love to add you to the team!

Who Can Become a Trainer?

We are looking for people who:

  • have a passion for mental health and recreation
  • have some previous facilitation experience
  • identify as African Nova Scotian, Indigenous, 2SLBGTQIA+ and/or Newcomer

About Becoming a Trainer

As a Trainer you will learn to facilitate the online and in person Recreation for Mental Health workshop. Here are the steps:

  1. Attend and participate in a R4MH workshop as a participant (4 hours)
  2. Read the Trainer supplement mental health resources
  3. Attend the Train the Trainer workshop (6 hours)
  4. Co-Facilitate with an existing Trainer (5 hours)

Benefits of Becoming a Trainer

As a R4MH Trainer you will be:

  • Creating safer, more welcoming recreation spaces for your community
  • Developing your facilitation skills
  • Compensated when you facilitate a workshop ($200/workshop)

If you are interested in becoming a R4MH Trainer or have any questions, please contact Seana at .