Can you imagine experiencing severe mental health challenges without a safe place to call home? For many of CMHA Calgary’s clients, it is their reality.
As a refugee, Omar* had experienced more violence than most of us can imagine, and the consequences on his mental health were severe. After a suicide attempt, he was discharged from a hospital into one of CMHA Calgary’s Post-Discharge Transition Homes.
“When he arrived, he couldn’t guarantee that he would make it to the next day; he wasn’t sure he wanted to be an active part of life anymore,” says Natalie McCaskill, CMHA Calgary’s Supportive Living Team Lead, Post-Discharge Homes.
In partnership with a clinical team of psychiatrists and nurses from Alberta Health Services, CMHA Calgary Supportive Living staff worked with Omar to develop the skills he needed to recover.
He established financial stability, learned to budget, found ways to support his family, and connected with others.
“I think he actually started to get an element of hope,” says Natalie. “It was a whole workover of health…physical, mental, spiritual, financial…and as everything started to get pieced together, he started to realize he did have a purpose, he did have worth.”
Once his mental health stabilized, Omar was also able to use his cooking and gardening skills to add to the homey environment of the house. Eventually, Omar moved into a unit that is supported by CMHA Calgary’s Apartment Program, where he can still access mental health supports as needed.
CMHA Calgary provides mental health supports to over 230 housing clients, approximately 60 of whom come directly from a hospital. For Omar, and many others, helping them feel at home is a key part of their recovery journey.
“For some of our clients, it’s the first time in their lives that they’ve had a safe place to be able to focus on their mental health. And I’m proud to help show them that there are good people and safe spaces,” says Natalie.
This holiday season, make a monthly or one-time gift to help our residents feel at home as they heal.
Items that will be purchased with your donations include toothbrushes, towels, socks, winter items, hand warmers, blankets, and new bedding. Donations will also be used to create meaningful holiday outings, such as seeing ZOOLIGHTS. These experiences help increase resiliency and remind clients that people care.
“People might think that these are just small things – but they aren’t. The donations we get are truly life-changing,” says Natalie. “We very much appreciate everything that is provided to support our clients.”
Without CMHA Calgary, many of our clients would face their severe mental health challenges without a safe home.
With your generous support this holiday season, we can provide everything they need to feel like they have come home.
How your donation can help:
*Name changed to protect the privacy of our client