The Bike is BACK! Harley is revved up and ready to go.

Local motorcycle club aims to reduce stigma and support community.

Niagara Region [July 13, 2023] The Welland Motorcycle Club (WMC) knows what stigma is all about. As “bikers” they face it. Not only is reducing stigma one of the reasons they choose to support Pathstone Mental Health, supporting kids in the Niagara community is also near and dear to their members.

After a 3-year hiatus, the Harley Davidson motorcycle draw that was a signature at the annual Biketoberfest Event held at the WMC, returns this year.

The annual event founded by Bruce and Suzanne Bissell went quiet through Covid and returned last year, but the annual Harley Davidson raffle did not. For the past 6 years, Bruce and Suzanne along with a band of volunteers went to summer events including Canal Days, and to Port Dover with the bike, selling tickets for a chance to win a Harley Davidson Street Glide Motorcycle. All funds raised, supported Pathstone.

Unfortunately, we lost Bruce shortly after the 2021 Biketoberfest Event. Bringing the bike back this year is a really a tip of the hat in memory of Bruce. “He was so passionate about Pathstone, and while times have certainly changed, the need to support Pathstone has not.” Suzanne Bissell, co-founder and wife of the late Bruce Bissell.

This year, tickets are available online, at a cost of $20 each or 6 tickets for $100 for a chance to win a 2023 Model FLHX Harley Davidson Street Glide (Valued at just under $33K) Second prize is $1,000 cash. The draw will be made as it always is, at this year’s Biketoberfest event, which will be held September 15th & 16th at the Welland Motorcycle Club in Welland. The official draw will be made at 7pm on Saturday, September 16th. You do not need to be present to win

Both Suzanne Bissell and the Welland County Motorcycle Club are thrilled to return to their partnership with Pathstone with all funds raised from the raffle supporting Pathstone’s newest site, River House, located in Welland. With Covid lockdowns a thing of the past, we can’t wait to return to full bore at Biketoberfest 2023 and we can’t think of a greater cause to support! Sean Gillespie, President of the Welland Motorcycle Club.

TO PURCHASE TICKETS: Scan the QR code or visit

PathstoneThe Bike is BACK! Harley is revved up and ready to go.
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Battling Exam Anxiety What it looks like, and how parents can help

Some kids may have perceived it to be a benefit through the pandemic, the cancellation of exams. As we returned to a mostly normal school year and are closing in on the end of the first semester for secondary school students, many are feeling a little under prepared and overwhelmed about exam week. For many, this will be the first time they are writing an exam.

As we move ahead, putting the pandemic behind us, how do we help kid move forward and be ok with getting back to “normal?”

Pathstone Mental Health is ready with an arsenal of strategies to help students prepare for exam day/week.

Students need to also ensure, they are getting rest and are eating well.

Caffeine, sugar, cannabis and nicotine are known substances that will increase anxiety.

In advance:

  • Make sure you know the time and location of your exam.
  • Know how the exam will be formatted and the content of the exam. This will allow you to better prepare.
  • Have the proper equipment you need to complete the exam, be it pencils, sharpener, calculator etc.


You can reduce anxiety by being well prepared.

Spread your studying out, versus cramming it all into a

Study effectively

  • Reduce anxiety by being well prepared
  • Spread your studying over the whole term rather than “cramming.”  Feeling that you don’t have enough time to cover everything increases anxiety.
  • Study in 50-minute blocks with 10-minute activity or nutrition breaks.
  • Learn memory enhancement techniques.
  • See the Student Learning Commons: Exams for additional resources.
  • Study by getting comfortable with what you will have to do in the exam: writing answers to practice questions under a time limit while sitting at a desk.

Prepare to write the exam

  • Eliminate extraneous sources of anxiety such as how to get to the exam room by figuring that out in advance.
  • Think about what commonly distracts you during exams (e.g.: frequent clock-watching, noise from other students etc.) and develop strategies in advance for dealing with these distractions.
  • Get as much rest as possible the night before the exam.
  • Wear a watch to monitor your time.
  • Wear layered clothing so you can control your temperature during the exam.
  • Only go to the exam room a few minutes early to avoid encountering anxious people.

Adjust your attitude

  • Maintain an attitude of doing the best you can under the circumstances, rather than requiring perfection from yourself.
  • Plan a reward for yourself after the exam. Praise yourself as you write the exam; e.g.,“half done and so far, so good.”

Change unhelpful thoughts

  • Learn, and practice over time, how to challenge your negative thoughts (e.g., “I’m going to fail.”).
  • See SFU’s Health and Counselling Services’s resources on emotion healthy resources.

Use test-taking strategies

  • Do a “memory dump” of information you are afraid you will forget on the back of the exam when you first receive it.
  • Read through the exam at the beginning and figure out how much time to spend on each question, according to what each question is worth.
  • To build confidence, start with questions you know rather than focusing on the ones you don’t.
  • Start with any multiple-choice or True/False section to gain clues that might help you answer other questions.
  • Take 30-second “mini-breaks” at specified points during the exam to use a relaxation strategy such as closing your eyes, relaxing your hands, and breathing deeply.

If your thoughts are racing and your mind becomes cluttered with worries:

  • Don’t focus on getting rid of the anxiety because that will only feed the anxiety;
  • Mentally yell “STOP” to break the cycle;
  • Take a 30-second “mini-break”;
  • Concentrate hard on a specific sensation (e.g.: the hum of the lights in the room) to clear your mind of anxiety; OR
  • Be with your anxiety – concentrate on your physical symptoms. If you can completely experience a physical sensation, it often disappears.

Use anxiety reduction techniques

  • Learn and practice, on a daily basis, relaxation and visualization techniques so they will come easily to you at exam time.
  • Check SFU’s Health and Counselling Service’s resources on Self-Guided: Well-being & Resilience.
  • While preparing for the exam, visualize a positive exam-writing experience. Seneca College has helpful techniques on memory and the SLC has additional resources on exam anxiety.

Pathstone Mental Health operates treatment programs, a crisis and support line, video counseling and nine in-person walk-in clinics for children 18 years old and under in the Niagara Region. They are in the process of trying to meet the high demand for counseling among school-age children in Niagara and are reaching out with helpful strategies, because all kids can use this support no matter where they live. During the past year they have seen 10,045 kids which is a whopping 40% increase since before the pandemic, with an unprecedented 550 plus kids on the waitlist for programs. And the demand for kids’ mental health services isn’t expected to go away anytime soon according to Erin Clayton, RSW and RP, Clinical Manager of Outreach Services, Youth Justice and High-Risk Therapist at Pathstone.

“1 in every 5 children will experience a mental health struggle but that statistic is expected to increase to 1 in every 4 children as a result of the pressures caused by the pandemic,” explains Clayton. “Because the start of a new school year, specifically, can be extra tough for kids who already suffer from mental health issues, we put together a “prep kit” full of tips to try and help as many kids and their families with the transition as possible.”

Pathstone’s tips on how to help kids get the 2022/23 school year off to a heathy start:

If you’re a parent who wants to measure your own readiness to identify and support your child’s mental health struggles this school year, visit to take a short quiz and find next-step resources.

If you suspect your child is struggling with their mental health, reach out to Pathstone. Their Crisis & Support line operates 24/7 at 1-800-263-4944 and their in-person mental health walk-in clinics are for youth 18 and under, as well as parents and caregivers who have questions about how to best support their kids. For locations and hours of operation, visit

About Pathstone Mental Health

Pathstone Mental Health is a community-based organization whose mission it is to provide innovative and effective treatment for all children in Niagara struggling with mental health issues. Thanks to support from our donors and volunteers, we are able to address and meet the needs of more children and their families. As the primary provider of mental health services for children in Niagara, we are also a lead agency for the province of Ontario. Note, Crisis Services are offered 24/7 by calling 1-800-263-4944.


For more information, to schedule an interview with Erin Clayton, or for high-resolution photography, please contact The PR Department at 416-535-3939. Email:


PathstoneBattling Exam Anxiety What it looks like, and how parents can help
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Two local Orgs Fund Youth Mental Health in Grimsby

Left to Right – Kathryn Drury, Rhona Wenger, Stacy Elia, John Darch & Kim Rossi.

Four years ago, Pathstone Foundation began the task of appealing to local councils to seek support to establish and fund youth mental health clinics closer to home.

Our goal in creating walk-in clinics across Niagara was to allow kids to be within reach of mental health care with no hoops to jump through. We positioned it as getting mental health support in your own backyard without cost, referral or a health card. Initially these clinics allowed walk-in’s but implementing an appointment structure through Covid, actually improved care.

When parents or youth call to make an appointment, they are speaking with a counsellor in our Crisis & Support program. Our staff can have a preliminary conversation with the client, recommend the closest walk-in clinic, and provide further info.

Of the nine in-person walk-in clinics located across Niagara, the majority are being funded by town and city council budgets.

We have a few cases where funds are coming from a private donor versus the city or town. This year, Grimsby city council is not funding their walk-in clinic, but two local organizations have come to the table and are supporting what they say is an essential service to Grimsby.

John Darch Insurance & Investments Inc, Co-operators, located in Grimsby and GBF, Community Services have both been allies to Pathstone for countless years. When Pathstone Foundation appealed to them for a $10,000 commitment each, there was not a hesitation.

Left to Right – Kim Rossi, Rhona Wenger, Kathryn Drury, Stacy Elia & John Darch.

With the support of Co-operators Advisor Community Fund, and in partnership with GBF, I’m grateful to be able to provide the funding necessary for Pathstone to be able to keep the Grimsby Walk-In Clinic open. Easy access to mental health care for children is critical, especially with the added impacts of the nearly two-year pandemic on children and families.
John Darch, John Darch Insurance & Investments Inc.

It is wonderful for GBF Community Services to be able to financially co-sponsor the walk-in clinic in Grimsby.  Access to service is probably the greatest hurdle for people to get on-going, mental health supports. It is so vital to have this kind of service available for youth and their families locally.  We are extremely proud to be a part in keeping this clinic in Grimsby.
Stacy Elia, Chief Executive Officer -GBF.

This type of community support and buy-in is why we have such strong presence across Niagara. Over the past 12 months, we supported nearly 10,000 kids of which a few thousand were from the Grimsby area. We are grateful to GBF and to John Darch for their commitment to the Grimsby clinic which is one of the busiest of the nine clinics we operate. We can’t forget one of most important partners at the Grimsby Library and Art Gallery for offering a safe space for our kids and counsellors to meet each week.
Kim Rossi, Director of Philanthropy & PR, Pathstone Foundation.

The Grimsby Public Library and Grimsby Public Art Gallery are pleased to be continuing our partnership with Pathstone Mental Health. The Library Art Gallery building is centrally located and easily accessible; a familiar public space where community members seeking help with their mental heath needs can readily access that assistance. The past two-years have made it more evident than ever how important mental health is to our overall well-being. We appreciate the work that Pathstone is here to do and thank them for being here in support of Grimsby residents.
Rhona Wenger, Executive Director, Grimsby Public Art Gallery & Kathryn Drury, CEO & Chief Librarian Grimsby Public Library

Currently, Pathstone is open for in-person walk-in clinic sessions at all nine locations. The Grimsby clinic operates out of the Grimsby Public Library, every Wednesday. An appointment is required for all in-person appointments and can be made by calling, 1-800-263-4944.

About Pathstone Mental Health

Pathstone Mental Health is a community-based organization whose mission it is to provide innovative and effective treatment for all children in Niagara struggling with mental health issues. Thanks to support from our donors and volunteers, we are able to address and meet the needs of more children and their families. We are the primary provider of mental health services for children in Niagara and have been helping kids for over 50 years. Note, Crisis Services are offered 24/7 by calling 1-800-263-4944.


Media Contact / Interviews: Kim Rossi p. 905.688.6850 x 167 e.

PathstoneTwo local Orgs Fund Youth Mental Health in Grimsby
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Pathstone continues in-person Mental Health Services

St. Catharines, ON (January, 5th, 2022) – Deemed an essential service, Pathstone Mental Health remains open for in-person mental health support.

With nearly two years of pandemic restrictions and measures, mental health support is not only an essential service, it’s become a life-line for so many children and youth in Niagara. Preventing access to care would be more harmful than beneficial for the thousands of young people we see each year. January and February as well as September and October tend to be two of the busiest mental health seasons at Pathstone. Shaun Baylis, CEO Pathstone Mental Health

We also know that the preference of many is to speak to someone in person, privately, versus over the phone or over video. Clients come first. Being able to offer mental health support and access in many forms ensures we are best supporting our youngest clients the way they are most comfortable and in a way that will be most beneficial to them. Kim Rossi, Director of Philanthropy & PR

Our Pathstone team is reaching out to their clients and families to make arrangements for their sessions in the format best for them. Those options include, in-person, video, or over the phone.

 With any in-person appointment, clients will be screened in advance, asked to sanitize their hands, and masks will be mandatory. A physical distance of 6ft (2 meters) will also be respected.

Speaking specifically to our off-site walk-in clinics located across Niagara. In-person support will also be available, by appointment only, beginning the week of January 10th. That appointment can be made by calling 1-800-263-4944.

Keeping in mind, Pathstone staff are not immune to COVID-19 and may need to make other arrangements with clients should they become sick themselves.

Appointments for all in-person or video counselling sessions are to be made in advance by calling the Pathstone Mental Health’s Crisis & Support line at 1-800-263-4944

About Pathstone Mental Health

Pathstone Mental Health is a community-based organization whose mission it is to provide innovative and effective treatment for all children in Niagara struggling with mental health issues. Thanks to support from our donors and volunteers, we are able to address and meet the needs of more children and their families. We are the primary provider of mental health services for children in Niagara and have been helping kids for over 50 years. Note, Crisis Services are offered 24/7 by calling 1-800-263-4944.

 Media Contact / Interviews: Kim Rossi p. 905.688.6850 x 167 e.

PathstonePathstone continues in-person Mental Health Services
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Finalist for CharityVilliage Awards

We are very honoured to be a finalist in two categories of the CharityVillage Awards this year.

The two categories are:


  • Nonprofit Employer – under 20 staff

This award recognizes excellence in crowdfunding through CharityVillage’s own Crowdfunding Platform. Finalists will be chosen by a special panel of judges from CharityVillage and its crowdfunding advisors.


  • Nonprofit Employer – under 20 staff

Never has there been such a wide array of fundraising tools available to help nonprofit organizations raise money for their important mission work. This award recognizes an outstanding fundraising campaign by a nonprofit or charity across any fundraising channel. A panel of fundraising experts will judge this award.

The awards will be given out at the 2021 CharityVillage Annual Conference & Awards on Wed, Nov 3, 2021.


PathstoneFinalist for CharityVilliage Awards
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Building stronger families: Participants Needed

Research study focussed on the overall betterment of families.

Kids and their families have been subjected to monumental change through the pandemic. A collaboration on a parenting and family support study will take a closer look at two new parenting programs.

The Offord Centre for Child Studies out of McMaster University and Pathstone Mental Health have collaborated on this effort and hope to gain an overall understanding if families in this study benefit from one program over the other, or see benefit in both.

The Triple P (Positive Parenting Program) and the Circle of Security Parenting Program (COSP) each offer ways for parents and caregivers to develop practical skills, which can help decrease challenging behaviours and emotions in young children, and help, better the families’ relationship. This fall, the study will also address an important evidence gap – “we want to see which of the programs will benefit families and their children more, and whether these programs are better than existing ones”. Andrea Gonzalez, Associate Professor, Canada Research Chair in Family Health and Preventive Interventions, Offord Centre for Child Studies at McMaster University. This project comes at a time when COVID-19 continues to add challenges to kids and families.

40 per cent of parents indicated their children’s behaviour/mood had deteriorated and there were findings of extremely high levels of depression among caregivers. *Offord Centre’s landmark 2020 Ontario Parent Survey.

As students head back to class, we know there will be a new set of challenges that families experience. Research suggests that parenting programs can improve emotional and behavioural adjustment of children and enhance the psychosocial well-being of parents. By taking part in this study, parents/caregivers may find they feel more positive about themselves and caregiving skills and strategies, but also helping other parents/caregivers in the future.

“We are actively looking for families with children aged 2 -6 to enrol in this study,” says Gonzalez. If families need technology in order to participate, we can help with that too. In recognition of the time and effort as participants in the study, parents will receive gift cards for completing required interviews.

Interested in participating?

If you are a family with children aged 2-6 and are interested in participating in this study, contact Pathstone Mental Health at 905.688.6850 x 319 or email

About Pathstone Mental Health
Pathstone Mental Health is the primary provider of mental health services for children and youth in Niagara. Our mission is to provide innovative and effective treatment to those children and youth from the start of their life to age 18. Note, Crisis Services are offered 24/7 by calling 1-800-263-4944.

About The Offord Centre for Child Studies
A multi-disciplinary research institute established in 1992. Through collaboration across fields such as child psychiatry, pediatrics, policy development, and social work. The Centre’s aim is to better understand children’s mental health problems with the overall goal of improving the lives of children and youth.

Contact for Questions / Interviews on the study:
Andrea Gonzalez, Associate Professor
Tier II Canada Research Chair in Family Health and Preventive Interventions
McMaster University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences Offord Centre for Child Studies.

PathstoneBuilding stronger families: Participants Needed
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