Mental health walk organizer aims to 'help women be the best version of themselves' – Niagara Falls Review

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Kaitlyn Honcoop suffered from anxiety and depression in her younger years.
She’s battled these demons and now works to help women facing similar issues.
She runs a social media networking group called Support Pack, which organizes regular wellness activities and workshops in Niagara. The group rents church halls and other venues, and also sets up in public parks during the warmer seasons to “help women be the best version of themselves,” she said Saturday, before a walk and run at Merritt Island in Welland to raise money for Canadian Mental Health Association’s Niagara branch.
The 30-year-old St. Catharines resident also has grand, long-term plans to fundraise enough money to open a centre “anywhere in Niagara” that would focus on mental health services for women.
While there are other agencies in the region providing this type of expertise, she said her plans would be a “different avenue of offering help.”
Services would include licensed counselling, group therapy, yoga and workshops. The facility would “create an all-inclusive community where women can form relationships and find support.”
More than $2,500 was raised at the second edition of the walk and run, held for a first time in 2019 and then put on hold for two years due to the pandemic.
“My plan is to have a centre where I can offer it all in one spot,” she said before close to 50 participants hit the Merritt Island trail for 2.5- and five-kilometre distances.
Her efforts started shortly after her friend’s father died by suicide about five years ago.
“What she went through after that, from a mental health aspect,” is one of the driving forces behind the work she puts in, she said, referring to her friend coping with the death of her father.
She also discusses with people how she was able to defeat her own issues with mental health.
“Now, overcoming that, I see how everyone should live their life,” she said.
Mental health is an area where many people are struggling across the world, and it certainly doesn’t discriminate against age, sexual orientation or ethnic background, said Honcoop.
The community she’s created on Facebook involves more than 1,000 women and has “made a positive impact in many of their lives by offering support,” she said.
“People deserve to feel part of something. They deserve to feel important. I believe we can create a safe welcoming space for women to feel just that,” she said.
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