Programs and Services
Women's Support Group
The Women’s program, which began in 1997, is a very innovative and valuable project. Women living with schizophrenia are amongst the most stigmatized and marginalized in our society. Furthermore, because women tend to develop schizophrenia at an older age and response to illness may be affected by reproductive biology, support and educational programs traditionally attended by men may not be appropriate for women. Under the auspices of the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society and with direction from an intersectoral Women's Program Advisory Committee, a needs assessment of women living with schizophrenia was undertaken in the spring of 1998.
It was found that this group of women led marginalized, deprived lives in the face of multiple losses, societal stigma, limited interpersonal contacts and poverty. With each life event, women were faced with a dilemma - a choice between equally untenable alternatives. For example, women found living with the side effects of antipsychotic medications such as weight gain, movement disorder, amenorrhea or facial hair find these difficult but neither could they live with the hallucinations, delusions, disordered thought process and paranoia of the illness.
The Women’s Program is a place where women share stories about their loneliness and social isolation along with the difficulties and fears of attempting to overcome the society stigma of mental illness. The threat of “being taken advantage of” in relationships often results in feelings of powerlessness and vulnerability. Women also share heartbreaking stories of the difficulties of parenting and the potential loss of their children because of the illness.
The Women’s Program attempts to meet some of the needs identified by women - socialization, recreation, peer support, and health information. They share their successes, hopes, dreams and accomplishments as they journey the road to recovery and empowerment! Attendance at all sessions and activities is steadily increasing with over 150 women receiving the consumer-produced newsletter, "The Sensitive Scoop." Jo-Ann Paley is the Editor of “The Sensitive Scoop”. Read the latest edition of Sharing Tree Newsletter.
Every Thursday afternoon from 1:15p.m. to 2:45p.m.
100-4 Fort Street
If you have any questions about the group call Karen Kaplen, Program Coordinator. She can be reached at 204-786-1616.
She is also available for one-on-one consultations.