This past holiday season, North American energy provider TC Energy chose to support CMHA Calgary by providing holiday gifts to our clients living in our Post-Discharge and Supportive Living Group Homes.
CMHA Calgary’s Post-Discharge and Supportive Living program serves individuals 18 years of age and over, who have been diagnosed with a severe and persistent mental health condition and/or concurrent disorder that has affected their ability to live independently.
Our staff at Robert’s House said every client felt celebrated, appreciated, and more like a family when opening their gifts.
“[We] believe a lot of our residents were not expecting to celebrate the holidays here at Robert’s House, some even voiced their wish that the holiday would pass by quickly. Allowing each guest to celebrate with gifts was a wonderful surprise and also reminded everyone that new memories of celebration can be created, even in challenging circumstances.”
Leanne Zee, Manager of Community and Workforce Giving at TC Energy, says their organization highly prioritizes mental health within the community, which is why they decided to treat our clients with these gifts.
“We want to raise awareness and highlight the importance of taking care of your mental health, while also being gracious to yourself and being gracious to others.”
“I normally don’t even wear a hat, but it came at the perfect time, especially on really cold days. Everyone got the same hat but each had completely unique colours. Everyone loved the honey—I am eating mine right out of the jar! All the gifts that were given have been enjoyed or put to good use.
It was super generous for all the donations and it had a super positive impact on the house. When you see everyone wearing their hats, you know that it made a difference.” – Resident of Robert’s House
In addition, TC Energy generously invested $12,000 in Welcome Home Packages for new clients in our group homes this year.
These packages, which include gender-neutral items needed to live in their new space, allow each client to build and strengthen connections to their community.
“We focus not only on mental health, but both physical and psychological safety. Everyone deserves to have a place they can call home where they can feel safe and protected. We hope that we’re inspiring feelings of comfort, belonging, and helping [clients] rebuild their independence as a way to help bring them back into society,” Leanne said.
“It’s so touching to see a hamper full of personal items just for me! I already feel welcomed, loved and accepted into this program and with all the trauma of my diagnosis, it pays to know I am in a safe place.” – Resident of Hamilton House
The Supportive Living Coordinators at one of our Group Homes says that they have noticed significant changes when welcoming new clients into the program.
“We make up rooms with simple but purposeful welcoming touches which I have noticed that our clients often hang onto throughout their stay here with us. Creating opportunities for warmth and comfort during a challenging transition to a Group Home is so important to lessen the fear of the unknown and respect the dignity of the individual. A proper welcome, sets the tone of our community-based in safety and respect and also allows for our residents to begin the recovery process from a place of strength.”
“It feels super generous to receive a welcome blanket, I really appreciated that. Someone who is coming here is not usually having a great time in their life, so these are very helpful.
Coming into a house with a bunch of strangers, it feels good to be made to feel welcome. It helps when others go above and beyond to make you feel comfortable. I felt that everyone was super nice when I got here, so I want to be that way to others.” – Resident of Robert’s House
To help ensure a mentally healthy work environment, TC Energy has a network of leaders referred to as ‘Mental Health Champions.’ Located across the company’s North American footprint, these leaders are enrolled in advanced mental health training that will allow them to create safe spaces at the workplace and encourage employees at all locations to prioritize their mental health.
TC Energy also has access to tools and resources including virtual health care that allows them to speak with medical professionals from the comfort of their own homes, frequent seminars to educate employees on mental health, and a recently introduced hybrid work model to ensure a work-life balance.
In 2023, Leanne says TC Energy will look to implement this mental health curriculum into their formalized training guide for all employees.
“We’re still looking for more ways to improve, such as evolving our policies and practices to incorporate language regarding mental health and increasing our focus on psychological safety as part of our safety culture. We continue to evolve and advance as an employer, as we navigate our mental health journey.”
TC Energy is committed to creating a culture that fosters psychological safety – where employees feel empowered to speak their minds, engage in open creative dialogue, and are comfortable being themselves in order to reach their highest potential. To challenge the stigma associated with mental health, TC Energy employees have bravely shared their own experiences, shining a light on available resources and showing struggling colleagues that it’s okay not to be okay.
“We’re working to normalize conversations about mental health and let people know that they are not alone and that they are surrounded by other people that are having the same silent struggles. We encourage anyone struggling to reach out. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to ask for help, but it can be a life-changing experience when you do,” Leanne said.
We’re continuously amazed by the support and generosity that is shown throughout our community. Thank you to TC Energy for providing all of our current clients, and new clients, with a sense of hope, connection, and belonging.
Our Peer Support program services can be accessed over the phone at 403-297-1402 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have teamed up with other Calgary agencies to help Calgarians quickly and easily access various counselling and social supports. Visit www.communityconnectyyc.ca, where you can book online for our Suicide Bereavement and Family Support Counselling, and other supports. If you prefer to still book through us, please phone (403-297-1708), or email (email@example.com).