Have you ever heard of the Thomas M. Wernert Center? It is a place for mental health recovery and support. It is a jewel that needs to be shared with everybody. Their mission statement is “to improve the quality of life for persons living with mental illness through peer-driven and focused programs which address recovery through education, advocacy and support.” The center is located on the corner of Ashland and Woodruff near downtown Toledo. There is a building expansion going on right now which makes all of us proud and excited.
The center is named after Thomas M. Wernert who created mental health centers and drug and alcohol services for Lucas County. Tom was the Executive Director of the board for 30 years. One special service project of his was the Consumers Union of Lucas County which was later renamed the Thomas M. Wernert Center (TMWC). There are many meaningful activities, educational opportunities and support groups to get involved in any day of the week.
Last week eight of us went on an outing to a downtown restaurant called “Coffee Connections” where I had a café mocha. As we enjoyed our drinks we played “Ice Breakers in a Jar” which were quirky questions to practice our social skills. Then we played “Finishing” where we were given part of a sentence like “The ball is in your….. “ The answer was court. We also told each member something about ourselves that they may not have known. Finally we told each other what was the happiest day of our life. The time flew by and we all agreed we would like to come back soon.
There were a number of educational programs offered at TMWC such as the Leadership Education Program, (LEP), Peer Support Class, Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) and more. I just graduated from the Leadership Education Program (LEP) which was excellent. This nine week class stressed the importance of leadership skills. It explained that “Leadership skills will ultimately assist us in our daily lives. We will learn how to use these skills in our personal lives, with our recovery and with our responsibilities such as with our families, peers and even employment. When we show leadership skills, we will get along better with people and we will be able to move forward with whatever life goals we have…leadership skills will make our personal life journey easier and more effective.” Being a Catholic school educator for over 30 years, I had some worthwhile attributes in leadership. LEP gave me much more direction in broadening those attributes.
There are several support groups that meet weekly. I enjoyed the Women’s Peer Support group. There were ten of us who learned and shared experiences for building self-esteem and self-love. We were presented with 22 self-esteem tips and exercises for increasing our self-esteem and our quality of life. Here are some of the self-esteem tips: Be true to yourself. Live life doing what feels right to you, not what someone else thinks you should do. Dan Coppersmith writes “Our self-respect tracks our choices. Every time we act in harmony with our authentic self and heart, we earn our respect. It is that simple. Every choice matters.”
Another self-esteem tip was to be grateful. We all have much to be grateful for. Before you go to bed each night, write down ten things you are grateful for that day and why. Gratitude alone can turn things around. One last tip says to do something physical. Get out of the house. Go for a walk. Do some gardening. Exercise. Fly a kite. Ride a bike. Exercise produces endorphins that help you feel better. Also, being outdoors in the sunshine helps the body produce vitamin D, which contributes to a healthier, happier you.
Remember what the TMWC’s recovery and support means: Your Steps of Recovery are. . . A JOURNEY. Education. . . is A TOOL. Self-Advocacy and Peer Support. . . MAKE THE DIFFERENCE. Spread the word about TMWC as a jewel we all will appreciate.