Executive Messages

Canadian Mental Health Association – Calgary Region (CMHA Calgary) is led by passionate, hard-working people to make sure that our community can access the mental health supports they need. 

Executive Messages

Canadian Mental Health Association – Calgary Region (CMHA Calgary) is led by passionate, hard-working people to make sure that our community can access the mental health supports they need. 

Dr. Michael Trew and Sara Jordan take a look back on our 2021 to 2022 year.

A Message from CMHA Calgary Board Chair

The need for mental health programs and services has never been greater. Throughout the many ups and downs in the past two years, many people have experienced grief, loss, loneliness, and hardships because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people have reached out for support and assistance, but there are also many who have not.

In March 2022, our National CMHA team and the University of British Columbia told us that in the past 12 months, 54% of Albertans were unable to receive the mental health support they needed because they couldn’t afford to pay.

This is why the programs at CMHA Calgary are so important. Everything is available at either no cost or on a sliding scale.

Throughout the past year, CMHA Calgary has carried on offering our virtual Peer Support services and Recovery College courses, while our Counselling programs have been able to operate with limited in-person offerings. As restrictions lift, we are excited to offer both in-person and virtual programming for Peer Support, Community Education, Recovery College, and Counselling.

I also want to particularly recognize the staff in our Post-Discharge and Supportive Living Homes, Apartments, Continuing Connections, and Independent Living Support programs. CMHA Calgary staff and clients safely and successfully dealt with all of the restrictions and ever-changing health and safety measures thrown at us through the pandemic. Thank you.

We know that the number of people facing mental health concerns has increased during the pandemic. According to Statistics Canada, at the end of 2021, 1 in 4 Canadians, which would equal to about 336,000 Calgarians, identified symptoms of depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. This is an increase from 1 in 5 in 2020.

With this increase, we know more people in Calgary are going to require help from CMHA Calgary. As a Board, we know the leadership team and staff at CMHA Calgary will continue to rise to the challenge with these vital and accessible mental health services.

Despite the ups and downs of the pandemic, inflation, and other global factors, CMHA Calgary is in a solid financial situation. Our teams continue to solidify and find diverse funding and development opportunities to see how we can expand and grow our services. As an organization, we are exploring ways to connect with parts of our community who we know need further access to mental health programs, including younger children in Grades 4 – 6, and Indigenous groups.

I would like to thank my fellow Board Members for all their time and hard work over the past year dedicated to mental health in Calgary and surrounding communities. As a Board, we are committed to moving CMHA Calgary forward with the changing times and landscape in our society. During our yearly Board Retreat, we dove deeper into philanthropic and stewardship opportunities to help us grow our mental health support for Calgarians. We explored how to bring Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training into all levels of the organization as a way to learn, educate, and expand our knowledge about the communities we strive to serve.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I want to thank our Executive Director, Sara Jordan, and all our CMHA Calgary staff members who have worked tirelessly with all the obstacles that have come your way over the past year. May we also celebrate the resilience, the successes, the rewards, and the smiles this year has given us all.

Dr. Michael Trew

CMHA Calgary Board Chair

 

A Message from CMHA Calgary Executive Director

As we at the Canadian Mental Health Association – Calgary Region close out our 2021 – 2022 year, I’m honoured to reflect back on the many successes the organization has seen, despite another year of the COVID-19 pandemic and all the challenges that have come with it.

This was the first year of our 2021 – 2025 Strategic Plan and we have made tremendous progress on both this plan and all of the operational elements that lie within it.

We continue to grow in our role as a mental health gateway for the clients in our community. This past October, we launched a new and improved website that is user-friendly and more streamlined for those seeking information or accessing our services. We are thankful to work with other organizations like The Distress Centre and 211, Catholic Family Service (Kindred), and Immigrant Services Calgary to provide our clients with easier pathways to receive help and the support that they require.

CMHA Calgary is proud of our inclusive, integrated client-focused services. Our housing programs have once again provided a place for individuals to learn new skills and work towards becoming more independent in their every day lives. We are pleased to continue to partner with Alberta Health Services to provide these important services to our clients and have opened a new Group Home over this past year and moved to provide awake-at-night staffing in our houses.

As a role model employer, we have made great strides to provide an inclusive, engaging, wellness-oriented culture for all of our employees. We take pride in providing real time, transparent communication to all staff, while we continue to roll out our new Human Resources Framework, which will provide an anchor for the culture in our organization.

We have actively sought out and are approached regularly to partner with other organizations to ensure that clients are served across the whole continuum of community health services. CMHA Calgary wants to be seen as a preferred, collaborative partner, and we have shown this through our leadership role we have taken on with the City of Calgary Action Plan on Mental Health and Addictions, the integration of Community Connect YYC with our Counselling program, and with The Alex through our School of Peer Support.

This past year saw another successful year of virtual events, including our second Annual Energize Don’t Hide Challenge, which raised over $150,000 through our spring wellness campaign. Participants were challenged to complete 3,330 minutes of physical activity through May and June while raising $330 individually or $3,300 as a team. This year’s Energize Don’t Hide Challenge is currently running from May 2 to June 30, 2022.

Our Counselling Team held their 17th Annual Survivors of Suicide Loss Day again this past November. We were extremely appreciative to host Dr. Michael Ungar from Dalhousie University present on Resiliency in an Ever-Changing World.

We were very fortunate to be selected as the charity of choice for numerous in-person community events held during the summer months. We were selected as a recipient for the Cody Snyder Charity Bullbustin’ event, and the ATB Financial Classic Golf Tournament. We are incredibly thankful to all of the community fundraisers who continue to choose and support CMHA Calgary. We would not be able to provide our programs and services without your help and generous support.

I would like to thank the Board of Directors at CMHA Calgary for their guidance and mentorship this past year. Your ongoing passion and commitment toward CMHA Calgary’s mission in promoting mental health, wellness, and recovery through community-based services is evident and most appreciated.

Most importantly, on behalf of our Executive Leadership Team, I would like to sincerely thank every single one of our employees at CMHA Calgary. The past year has once again come with numerous challenges as we continued to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Everyone has shown their strength and ability to be resilient, capable, and adaptable while continuing to provide an excellent quality of care to all of our clients. You are the reason why we are successful at CMHA Calgary.

As we move forward into our next year, there are many things that we are looking forward to at CMHA Calgary. We are looking forward to opening up our Welcome Centre and Recovery College again for in-person delivery, and welcoming our staff back into our main office.

I look forward to the next year with CMHA Calgary with excitement. It will be amazing to see what we will accomplish together with all of you and our partners.

Sara Jordan

CMHA Calgary Region Executive Director