Anna Quon: Wellness in writing

Halifax-based artist, writer and CMHA volunteer, Anna Quon. Photo submitted by Anna Quon.

 

Anna Quon is a Halifax-based artist and writer and long-time volunteer with the Canadian Mental Health Association. A champion of the mental health community, Anna helps by sharing her passion for writing.

Anna has volunteered for the Canadian Mental Health Association National, has a long history with the Halifax-Dartmouth branch and this past spring when the province was under strict lockdown orders as a result of COVID-19, she joined the weekly online wellness sessions offered by CMHA Nova Scotia. After attending several sessions, she offered to host a writing workshop herself.

“In my non-pandemic life, I facilitate writing workshops, so doing the online wellness session helped me feel connected to that part of my professional life,” says Anna. “We’re all locked up at home, not seeing other people and it’s an interesting way to meet people by sharing your skills and creativity online”

Adapting her workshop to an online format was surprisingly easy. Anna would give attendees a writing prompt to work on before the workshop and they would bring their creation to the group and share and additional prompts during the session. Writing prompts included writing about your perfect day and your ideal superpower. After members shared their work they would reflect and give positive feedback.

“I think people enjoyed the workshops because we were all supportive of each other. That’s one thing I liked about the group is that people were positive and not overly critical and that was a good feeling,” says Anna. “I felt like I was volunteering with my peers and doing something that I feel could help enhance their lives, or at least their day.”

Anna says she enjoys volunteering for the Canadian Mental Health Association at all levels because she is interested in Canada being a mentally healthy and supportive place for everyone.

“I think CMHA is one of the leaders voicing some of the concerns that are very basic to a healthy, happy life,” says Anna. “It’s been an important organization for me in my life. I’ve made a lot of friendships and important connections.”

Anna says that when people volunteer, it benefits them and their community.

“Volunteering has saved my life at different times and made me feel like I had something to contribute when no one would give me a job or I wasn’t ready to work because I was mentally unwell or for whatever reason,” says Anna. “When we have people volunteering, which means we have a stronger more vibrant community. It’s important to me personally and the world at large.”