For the past year, CMHA Calgary has been welcoming the community into our new Welcome Centre and offering classes in our Recovery College.
We have welcomed more than 8,000 people through our Welcome Centre since opening in the beginning of January 2018. Our Recovery College, which is run by Recovery Trainers and Peer Facilitators, has seen a 75% completion rate through our free courses. But, getting to this new space and changing how our community is able to access mental health services has been a journey, just like those who we see daily accessing our services.
CMHA Calgary has been helping people with mental health or substance use concerns for more than 60 years. Then in June 2013, Calgary and High River flooded. In the aftermath of the flood, we wanted to empower people in their own recovery journey. We want to focus on creating human connections, finding belonging, and building hope. No medical diagnosis required. No referral needed. The door is always open. Our organization has been offering Peer Support for more than 25 years.
For a long time, it was the grassroots part of our organization. Not many people knew what Peer Support was or how it was giving hope to so many. Our capacity was limited though in part due to our physical space. We wanted to expand this service and give all of Calgary the opportunity to access Peer Support – a chance to speak with someone who has that personal experience with a mental health or substance use concern. This could be either yourself or a loved one. Which is why we opened our Welcome Centre, for anyone to find support.
In addition to Peer Support, we established Recovery College – free educational courses that focuses on skill-building, wellness, and recovery to reduce isolation and loneliness and encourage connection and belonging. All made possible with the dedication from our long-term supporters like you.
Over the past 25 years working at CMHA Calgary, I have seen the organization change and grow. We have gone from a small group practicing Peer Support in our former office, to a team operating out of our brand new space to in the community and with other organizations. We want people to stop thinking about what’s wrong and start to think about what’s strong. Talking to someone who has walked the path before, is a great addition to someone’s recovery journey. – Debbie
But we want to expand and grow even more. We want to continue to scale up our services and partner with other organizations to connect with more Calgarians. The only way to do this is with people like you who truly believe and invest in our work.