An informal discussion about mental health will be held at the Sarnia Library Theatre Monday evening, as Sarnia Speaks hosts its first in-person session in over two years.
The local initiative educates residents on important issues and creates an open dialogue discussion.
Sarnia Speaks Founder Danielle Catton said this year's focus is about how to cope following two years of the pandemic, mental illness, and burnout experienced by care providers.
"You're going to hear from people who have stories, who are affected by mental illness and advocate for change, but also professionals working in the field," she said. "[They're] going to help us understand where we can go now and how us as individuals can continue to advocate for change through that burnout and beyond."
Catton said after losing someone to suicide, she felt a feeling of helplessness, which spurred this discussion.
"That's kind of where this event was born, helping people who are feeling that same kind of helplessness, what they can do to help make change."
Catton said it feels great to return to in-person sessions but also a little "strange". The last Sarnia Speaks event was held in February 2020 and focused on cyberbullying.
"We will have four panelists who are going to share their stories and speak to the topic and then afterward, what we do is open the floor for questions and comments," said Catton. "Our moderator will lead everybody through that open discussion so it gives everybody an opportunity to feel like they have a voice."
Speakers will include Crystal Fach of Diversity Ed, Martine Austin-Creasor, Brian White as the moderator, and Cat Cabajar.
The event is free to attend and RSVP is not required. The discussion will begin at 6 p.m. and run until 7:30 p.m.