Mossom Creek Healing

Mossom Creek, Port Moody BC, Canada

I have been a volunteer at Mossom Creek Hatchery for over a year now and it has been somewhat of a life saving experience for me. I don’t take that statement lightly nor do I attribute that to one or two specific events. I believe life saving experiences can be an accumulation of events that were catalyzed by a certain decision.

Most of my close social circle are aware that I have a serious brain health issue. Are you wondering what the difference between a brain vs mental health issue is? There is none! Brain Health is a term now being used by those in the medical community to avert the stigma of the term ‘Mental Health’, so that real work can get done! Society and Mass Media has demonized the term ‘Mental Illness’ such that people can’t even say the word without feeling awkward or anxious about it. How many times do you read the paper and find that anything sensationally tragic has some association to a mental illness. Even if its not true, the media throws the term in there just to add more drama. Remember, they need to sell advertising. The truth is, only 5% of violent crimes committed are due to someone with a serious mental health concern. Could it be possible that number could be lowered if people who were undiagnosed were treated properly and had a social circle the understood the individual and supported them compassionately? Did the stigma prevent them from getting the help that is available? Are we contributing to this stigma by ignorance? Seems like we are all culpable, we can look away but there will still be blood on our own hands no matter how hard we want to close our eyes.

Young Coho

Are you now frightened of who I am? I’ve admitted I have a mental health issue and I live in your community! Most of my friends would actually laugh at that thought; I feel guilty for stepping on a slug in the dark. My close circle are not aware of what my condition looks like, but they are conscious that I do have something and that I have limits. Brain and Mental health issues are not visible like other physical disabilities, however they should be treated with the same respect by ourselves and society. Similar to one who is paraplegic, they are conscious of limits, those with Brain, Mental Health issues have to be aware of those as well. Sometimes their mind is so compromised that unfortunately they are not able, so those around them need to support them and do what is best.

Young Coho in Rearing Tubs

So what does Mossom Creek have to do with this anyway? Well for those with the challenges of the brain, its not just about going to the doc and popping a pill and then hang out at home until your next appointment in 3 months or so. It takes a holistic approach. Analogize this to someone who has had a car accident, just released from the hospital, can they now go out and run a marathon which they had planned on doing just before their accident. Well, the same holds true for someone who has a brain or mental health concern. Your mind needs rehab, it needs a social environment that is supportive and one that doesn’t really care about what you have or your past.

The Mossom Creek Hatchery which was founded by Ruth Foster and Rod McVicar over 30 years ago. It seems with Ruth and Rod, their main concern is how you can learn about salmon and that you are there contributing back to the ecology, the community and society. Everything else doesn’t really matter and even if it did, that doesn’t become an obstacle, its merely an awareness of how one can best contribute to the whole. Is it more than a coincidence that a ‘vicar’ is a term associated with a parish (a community) and ‘foster’ is a term of nurturing. Mossom Creek Hatchery has been a sanctuary for me and for certain many others that I have come to know there. So remember the next time you eat a salmon, think about where it came from; I know I do and that I will fight like ‘Mad’ to ensure it stays that way, certainly there are many others as well.

Salmon are Sacred March on BC Legislature, May 2010
Mossom Coho, J Peachy 2010
Mossom Eggs, J Peachy 2010

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