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  • Writer's pictureMona Cooley

We All Need To Come Together!

“We all need to come together,” is being said more and more in the paper, in political environments and in networking with businesses and charities. I FULLY Agree that, “we all need to come together” to figure out how we are all going to get through this tough economy and manage the struggles that strike without notice. The frustrations, whether it is about how I pay for the increased tax bill or how I deal with the strained relationships in my family, are real and painful.

When facilitating family sessions, the discussion is about how the family can come to the table to have honest, constructive conversations so each can be heard and understood. Everyone has feelings, which are not always expressed. Not expressing one’s feelings means masking the feelings buried deep inside you that rumble and eventually explode with anger or resentment or frustration. Children, youth, adults all have their times of frustration. What I know for sure is, “not being heard and understood” is frustrating. I remember when my parents couldn’t understand why I wanted to be in sports, then later after I was married, why I wanted to keep working at a job that was challenging and fulfilling. What was not understood is, “I am an entrepreneur” who loves the excitement of being innovative when I see something needs to be done differently and to change what is not working. I am not blaming my parents because the times did not understand the entrepreneurial, innovative and creative side of someone like me. This creative side of me was not understood so I hesitated to show this creative side because others would think I was off my rocker. When others express something different and maybe never heard before, it can be hard to understand the thinking behind the expression. Hearing different opinions does not mean you have to agree. The point I want to make here is that, “we need to invest time in order to understand what is behind the mind of someone’s opinions, feelings or thoughts.” Everyone has their own opinions / feelings / thoughts, but being curious and seeking to understand their opinions / thoughts / feelings is often not done. Put down the phone and listen and be curious.

NOW, I am asking the families to come together to work on their painful situations that are frightening and frustrating each other. The day-to-day issues appearing require the family to learn how to hear and understand each other. How are you going to come together to hear one another without conflict erupting? I have blogged how to start communicating, listening and understanding each other, plus if you are a member, you can access our podcasts. Have you started? If you are still struggling you can participate in our complimentary session taking place on June 10, 2019 to experience what we do in our 10-week sessions or for us to facilitate a family meeting. (Email: to register)

I also hear the health care system does not have you feeling heard and understood when worrying about a loved one who is having suicidal thoughts or hearing what the family is experiencing with situations at home. I understand this. Hearing families were not getting heard, my advocacy spirit kicked into gear to share the families’ frustrations with Alberta Health Services (AHS). AHS listened and heard me. A committee was formed that included myself and others who understood the challenges families were facing, to develop a brochure called TOGETHER We’re Better, Families and Caregivers as Partners and Health Care Providers as Partners.

Families are part of their loved one’s journey; it is important they are heard and understood so everyone benefits by better outcomes.

The question I am asking is this – if you are struggling with issues, no one feels heard or understood, the family can’t sit at the table without it being a battle ground where anger or frustrations are erupting and you feel it is better to hide in your bedroom than face this battle… then how are you and your family going to ever come together to hear what is happening in each other’s lives?

From personal experience, I am glad our family experienced a family meeting with the psychiatrist who was working with our daughter. This was our first step towards having our family come together to hear one another. Having multiple battles, we were ready to do something different. It was important to us as a family to come together to have better outcomes. It is up to YOUR family to do something different to get better outcomes.

The decision is yours. No one can make that decision for you to come together to have better conversations. Are you ready to change what is not working? What is your decision? It is up to you, “to come together.”

To request a copy of the brochure, “TOGETHER, We’re Better” call:

Access Mental Health – 403.943.1500 or 1.844.943.1500


Health Link at 811

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