In times when individuals are struggling most, they need someone there, not to solve the problem, but to see the world as they do. We’ve all had moments of uncertainty, and loss. We’ve all had times where we’ve needed to turn to others for help, to be heard and understood and to get through difficult times.
Being there for someone else in their time of need is empathy, which was the theme for this year’s Mental Health Week. Held the first week of May, Mental Health Week aims to promote and protect mental health in Canada. Unfortunately, many people can’t afford mental health services or don’t know where to turn to when they need help. 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.1
This is why the programs you help fund at CMHA Calgary are so important. We offer everything at either no cost or on a sliding scale.
For the past two years, the programs at our main office, including our free Recovery College courses and Peer Support services, have all been delivered virtually, while our Counselling has done limited in-person sessions.
Nothing beats in-person connection, as we all know, but we have seen success in our virtual offerings.
Our Peer Support service, accessible by anyone over the age of 16 free of cost, has seen individuals reach out to find support for another person, emotional support, information about CMHA Calgary programs, and most importantly to find connection with another person. Our Peer Supporters have provided these individuals hope, connection, and a sense of belonging, while also providing program referrals and resource information.
Our Peer Supporters in our Welcome Centre are eagerly awaiting to see our clients again face-to-face. For those who can’t make it down to our facilities, our Peer Supporters can still be contacted by phone or email to be that empathetic ear as someone who has walked a similar path, as we provide that barrier-free service in as many ways as possible.
For the last nine months of 2021, our Recovery College saw 1,367 (non-unique) total registrations across all of the courses. Recovery College courses are designed to provide students with knowledge, skills, and techniques to support their mental health journey and enhance their resourcefulness to stay well. We offered 181 virtual sessions, totalling 1,226 of in-class education, with our most popular courses being Building Better Boundaries, Art of Friendship, and Confront the Discomfort.
We are excited to finally be able to host our Recovery College courses in our classrooms, while continuing to offer some virtual courses for those students who feel more comfortable learning this way, both at no cost.
The Welcome Centre and Recovery College classes aren’t just for our clients. They are open to our donors and supporters like you. We welcome anyone to come down, visit us, and see how your donations are creating an impact within Calgary and surrounding communities to ensure everyone has access to mental health services when they need them.
Over the past year, we have been thankful to partner and strengthen our relationship with other organizations and initiatives in our city to help all of our clients navigate the services they need to improve their mental health. These include Gateway from Immigrant Services, the Distress Centre and 211, and Community Connect YYC from Catholic Family Services. Partnering helps the greater Calgary community find programs and resources to access the services they require.
We know that the number of people facing mental health concerns has increased during the pandemic. Nearly half (46%) of Canadians are stressed or worried about coping with anxiety, including chronic stress from the pandemic, making basic decisions harder, zapping our energy, and leaving people tired or burnt out.2
With this increase, we know more people in Calgary are going to require help from CMHA Calgary. We are therefore asking you to consider becoming a monthly donor. By giving a little bit each month, you will join a movement of people dedicated to bringing mental health programs to those who need it most.
Stay well—both physically and mentally. CMHA Calgary is here for you, here for your loved ones, and here for the greater Calgary community. And remember to check in on those who may need your help the most. Simply being there for someone can be the greatest gift of all.
1 A summary of key findings – Round 4: Assessing the Impacts of COVID-19 on Mental Health. (n.d.) CMHA National. Retrieved April 4, 2022, from https://cmha.ca/brochure/summary-of-key-findings-ubc-4/
2 A summary of key findings – Round 4: Assessing the Impacts of COVID-19 on Mental Health. (n.d.) CMHA National. Retrieved April 4, 2022, from https://cmha.ca/brochure/summary-of-key-findings-ubc-4/
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)