There are 65,000 people in NDG and health affects everybody. Do you have a family doctor? Do you know where to go for an ultrasound? What about mental health services?

If those questions have you scratching your head, them mark your calendars for the NDG Community Health Forum on October 21.

More than 30 local agencies will be present to offer information on health and social services in the neighbourhood, along with panel presentations and thematic workshops.

“This is a first in NDG,” says forum coordinator Riley Dalys-Fine, a community organizer with the Notre-Dame-De-Grâce Community Council (NDGCC). “This is really a unique event, about not only promoting health but access to care and services for the residents of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.”

Organized by the Working Group on Health of the NDGCC, funding was allocated by the NDG Senior Citizens’ Council.

“A lot of people are in touch throughout the community asking a whole range of questions about where they go if they don’t have a family doctor,” he told The Suburban. “People want to know how to access mental health support quite a bit, accompaniment services, a whole range of services people may believe they lack access to.”

That requires a holistic approach says Dalys-Fine. “We’re not just talking about physical access, as some people cannot make it to a CLSC because of mobility issues or hours of operation; but also in terms of information or they don’t understand the system well enough and how it applies to what they are looking for. This event will serve to find and package that for them.

Open to all NDG residents, there will be a focus on certain at-risk populations including new arrivals who can find the system very confusing and depending on their status may not be covered by RAMQ (Quebec’s public health insurance). “There are services that everyone should be able to get, but the procedures are not always well understood.”

Also targeted are older adults with changing needs who have to negotiate the recent health system re-organization that has stymied a lot of people over the last few years. “We need to disseminate information as to where they can go.”

The day-long event will feature dozens of kiosks representing the public network but also the community sector, as well as a host of local organizations who will talk a bit about their particular service. In the afternoon nine bilingual themed workshops will address different topics such as services for seniors, caring for elderly loved ones and mental health services.

“What we’re hoping for is to have a local focus” says Dalys Fine, adding that transportation is being offered by the SCC for those who require it.

The Forum takes place Saturday, October 21 from 10 a.m. — 4 p.m. at the Crowley Arts Centre (5325 Crowley. Metro Vendôme) To register or for more information visit:

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