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Families

CMHA – Calgary Region builds awareness and provides education and support for individuals and families with a mental health or substance use concern, or a loss by suicide. Family and friends often have a difficult time coping and wonder how best to help a relative or friend with a mental health or substance use concern. Through our Workshops & Classes, Drop-in Groups and One-on-One Supports, family members can access support and specific information and resources to aid individuals in maximizing their ability to assist those affected with a mental health or substance use concern or loss by suicide while staying balanced in the process.

Our Peer Support service provides the opportunity for anyone – individual, family member or professional – looking for a connection with others, who is new to the mental health and/or addiction community, or looking for information about a mental health diagnosis, the chance to speak with someone with lived experience.

Our Welcome Centre is now open for one-to-one peer support on Wednesdays from 10 am – 2 pm. 

We have made a number of additions:

  • Coated the space in an antimicrobial protection spray (Pathene).
  • Brought in air purifiers
  • Installed wall dividers to ensure the traffic flow is going one way
  • Distance markers on the floor, including arrows and “stand here” stickers
  • Added designated stations for Peer Support with plexiglass to separate
  • Hand sanitizer throughout
  • Scheduled times for cleaning and disinfecting

This is what we are asking of our guests:

  • Arrive with your mask on.
  • Ring the doorbell when you arrive – the doors will be locked. If we have reached our limit in the Centre, you will be asked to wait outside the building. Support will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • We will be limiting the number of people in the Welcome Centre. If you are not receiving 1-to-1 peer support, you will not be able to hang out.
  • Check-in with our Peer Supporter when you enter. You will be asked a series of COVID-19 related questions and have your temperature check. You will only be able to enter with other people if they are in the same family or cohort group.
  • Use Hand sanitizer when you enter, and when you get to the space to speak to a Peer Supporter.
  • Ensure you are physically distancing with others (6 feet or 2 meters).
  • There will be no food or coffee served in the Welcome Centre. We also ask that no outside food be brought in.
  • Designated Peer Support stations have been set-up. They are outfitted with plexiglass and privacy screens. The area and materials used will be disinfected between guests.

Peer support program services can still be accessed over the phone at 403-297-1402 or through email at peer@cmha.calgary.ab.ca.  The emails and phone calls will be responded to in a timely manner based on volume received between the hours of 11 am – 3 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and 1 pm – 7 pm on Tuesdays.

Our Counselling Services for Suicide Bereavement and Family Support are available through phone (403-297-1708), email (counsellingintake@cmha.calgary.ab.ca) or through Community Connect YYC .

Please note: CMHA – Calgary does not provide intervention for individuals contemplating suicide. If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please call the Distress Centre’s 24-hr Crisis Line at (403) 266-HELP or visit their website. If you or a person you know is at immediate risk of harming self or others, please call 9-1-1.

  • Recovery College

We believe that everyone can learn something to support themselves or someone else’s progress on their recovery journey.

We want to give everyone the opportunity to learn together, share experiences and knowledge and most importantly, participate. Not as a patient, client, caregiver or member of staff, but simply a student – no previous education required! Through everyone learning together with only one shared label of ‘student’, we believe that we can begin to break down the barriers and stigma that exist, and support you whatever your background, to benefit from the richness of experience.

At Recovery College we use an educational-based approach to help people recognize and develop their own resourcefulness and awareness in order to become experts in their own self-care, make informed choices and do the things that they want to do in life.

All of our courses are developed and delivered in partnership with our peer support workers who are experts by experience: they all have their own lived experience of a mental health or substance use concern, or are supporting someone else with a a mental health or substance use concern.

At the Recovery College we place emphasis on people’s talents and strengths. We will inspire optimism, encourage students to consider their future opportunities, and move towards a culture of personal empowerment and feelings of hope.

Our registration process is quick and simple, take a look at the diagram below to see the process. Take a look at our course prospectus or our course calendar, we hope this will give you the information you need to help you make decisions about registering as a student, and any courses you might want to sign up for.

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us at 403-297-1402 or email recovery.college@cmha.calgary.ab.ca. Click here to view courses and to register.

  • Capable Carers

The Capable Carers therapeutic group is a place where family members can get support when their loved one is impacted by mental illness. Capable Carers, led by a CMHA counsellor, offers a safe nonjudgmental environment that uses a psycho-educational and practical approach. This 8-week closed group will explore some topics such as self-care, boundaries, communication, grief and loss, crisis recovery, etc. It is a place where participants can openly discuss and share experiences, empathetically connect with others, and create a sense of hope.

Family members receive education on coping skills and capacity to support loved ones, while understanding the tools to help decrease burnout for themselves. The group environment provides opportunity for connection to others, decreased feelings of isolation and increased feelings of hope.

Upcoming Sessions: 

Dates: Monday, January 25, 2021 – Monday, March 15, 2021
Times: 6:00 – 8:30 pm
Location: Group will be held online through Zoom. Link will be sent out to attendees prior to the first session.

Eligibility for the group will be determined in collaboration with a counsellor. Registration and fees do apply. Please note, this group has an ongoing wait list. Individuals who are place on the wait list will be registered for the next available group in the order their names were added to the list. For more information or to register, phone 403-297-1708 or email counsellingintake@cmha.calgary.ab.ca.

  • Life After Loss

The Life after Loss group is facilitated by experienced CMHA Calgary counsellors. Individuals will receive knowledge about the grief process, in an environment they can create connections with others to develop a network of support. The group provides members with an opportunity to meet others who have experienced a similar loss, and to explore their own grief on a new level in a safe and supportive environment.

Groups take place once a week over a 8-week period, several times per year. Fees are based on a sliding scale. No one is refused service due to financial reasons. Registration and previous one-on-one sessions with one of our counsellors is required.

Upcoming Sessions:

Dates: Wednesday, January 27, 2021 – Wednesday, March 17, 2021
Times: 6:00 – 8:30 pm
Location: Group will be held online through Zoom. Link will be sent out to attendees prior to the first session.

For more information or to register, phone 403-297-1708 or email counsellingintake@cmha.calgary.ab.ca.

  • Survivors of Suicide Loss Day 

Every year, over 500 people die by suicide in Alberta. Those left behind are left to navigate an often complex grief process that comes with a loss by suicide. Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is an international day to build support and community for those left behind.

Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is a one day event for individuals who have lost someone to suicide (parent, child, spouse/partner, aunt, uncle, cousin, niece, nephew, friend, or extended relationships – wife lost a parent or sibling, parent of someone who lost a partner) to come together and connect in a supportive environment. CMHA Calgary works with a group of devoted volunteers to present a day of support, healing, information, connection and hope for those left behind.

As a result of the current restrictions on large gatherings in Alberta, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CMHA Calgary will be hosting a virtual Survivors of Suicide Loss Day via Zoom. No in-person event will occur this year.  We hope to have an in-person event again in 2021.

Due to the highly emotional and sensitive nature of the day, this event is primarily intended for adults over the age of 16.

Virtual Survivors of Suicide Loss Day

Date: Saturday, November 21, 2020
Time: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Hosted through: Zoom
*A Zoom link will be emailed to all registrants by November 20, 2020
RegistrationRegister online today!
Registration Fee: A minimum $20 donation is encouraged

To be included on the registration email, please let us know at info@cmha.calgary.ab.ca.

  • Caregiver Connections Drop-in

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic is a difficult time to navigate at work and at home. During this session a counsellor and a family peer will provide people with the chance to talk about their experiences during the pandemic, to learn about anxiety and what to do about it, and how the grief process plays a role during this time. Participants will learn how to support their family/friends/community during this time. Facilitators will be provided with the opportunity to practice some grounding exercises during the session that they can utilize when needed.

Upcoming Sessions: 

Caregiver Connections is held every Tuesday virtually from 6:00 – 7:30 pm. Click here to register.

  • Suicide Bereavement Drop-in

This group, facilitated by a peer volunteer survivor and a CMHA counsellor, provides a confidential and safe space for those who have experienced a loss by suicide to share, network and meet others who can understand and provide support. Individuals are supported through their loss, in an environment they can create connections with others to develop a network of support.

Upcoming Sessions:

Dates: 

Thursdays, 6 – 8 pm, Online via Zoom
September 10, 2020
September 24, 2020
October 8, 2020
October 22, 2020
November 5, 2020
November 19, 2020
December 3, 2020
December 17, 2020

Groups are free and currently taking place online over Zoom. To receive the Zoom link, please register here. For more information phone 403-297-1708 or email counsellingintake@cmha.calgary.ab.ca.

  • Peer Support & Navigation

“Peer support is ‘the process by which like-minded individuals with similar experiences – who have traveled or are travelling the road – encourage and assist each other to continue the recovery journey.’” – Canadian Coalition of Alternative Mental Health Resources

CMHA’s Peer Support service provides the opportunity for anyone – individual, family member or professional – looking for a connection with others, who is new to the mental health and/or addiction community, or looking for information about a mental health diagnosis, the chance to speak with someone with lived experience. Our peers provide: a warm welcome; understanding; knowledge of the mental health and/or addiction community; connection to mental health and/or addiction services; a bridge to services in the community; emotional and social support to others who share a common experience. Individuals make a connection with someone with lived experience of a mental health or substance use concern, to increase engagement with community, move through the recovery journey to develop skills and build resilience to stay well in community.

When an individual reaches out to CMHA the first person they talk to will be someone who may have travelled a similar journey to their own who can assist and provide information on options, opportunities and supports available. They have had over 120 hours of training on relationships, recovery and peer support and a lifetime of experience. Finally, our peer workers are special because they are able to connect with individuals that are often left feeling disconnected by the health system as they share a common experience and understanding with those they speak with.

Our Welcome Centre is now open for one-to-one peer support on Wednesdays from 10 am – 2 pm. 

Peer support program services can still be accessed over the phone at 403-297-1402 or through email at peer@cmha.calgary.ab.ca. The emails and phone calls will be responded to in a timely manner based on volume received between the hours of 11 am – 3 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and 1 pm – 7 pm on Tuesdays.

Please note: CMHA – Calgary does not provide crisis services. If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the Distress Centre’s 24-hr Crisis Line at (403) 266-HELP or visit their website. If you or a person you know is at risk of harm, please call 9-1-1.

  • Counselling – Suicide Bereavement and Family Support 

CMHA offers counselling to family members or friends living and coping with a relative or significant other who is suffering from a mental health issue, and suicide bereavement counselling for those individual survivors, families and couples to develop an enhanced understanding of their own grief process.

In our Family Support Counselling, family members who are caring for a loved one with a mental health or substance use concern are supported through one-to-one interactions to receive coping strategies and maintain their own wellness.

Through our Suicide Bereavement Counselling individuals are supported through the one-to-one interactions to receive coping strategies to stay well after the loss of their loved one. One-on-one grief counselling can be a complement to other resources such as short term Employee Assistance Programs. This service is available for people in Calgary who are 18 years of age and over. Appointment may be made by the individual or by referral.

Fees for all counselling services are based on a sliding scale. No one is refused service due to financial reasons.

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. Officially, Community Connect YYC will launch this fall, but we wanted to offer you early access while we smooth the edges and connect more organizations.

If you prefer to still book through phone (403-297-1708) or email (counsellingintake@cmha.calgary.ab.ca), please connect with us.

  • Survivors of Suicide Loss Day 

Every year, over 500 people die by suicide in Alberta. Those left behind are left to navigate an often complex grief process that comes with a loss by suicide. Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is an international day to build support and community for those left behind.

Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is a one day event for individuals who have lost someone to suicide (parent, child, spouse/partner, aunt, uncle, cousin, niece, nephew, friend, or extended relationships – wife lost a parent or sibling, parent of someone who lost a partner) to come together and connect in a supportive environment. CMHA Calgary works with a group of devoted volunteers to present a day of support, healing, information, connection and hope for those left behind.

As a result of the current restrictions on large gatherings in Alberta, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CMHA Calgary will be hosting a virtual Survivors of Suicide Loss Day via Zoom. No in-person event will occur this year.  We hope to have an in-person event again in 2021.

Due to the highly emotional and sensitive nature of the day, this event is primarily intended for adults over the age of 16.

Virtual Survivors of Suicide Loss Day

Date: Saturday, November 21, 2020
Time: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Hosted through: Zoom
*A Zoom link will be emailed to all registrants by November 20, 2020
RegistrationRegister online today!
Registration Fee: A minimum $20 donation is encouraged

To be included on the registration email, please let us know at info@cmha.calgary.ab.ca.

Reach out for help

Contact the Canadian Mental Health Association – Calgary Region for more information at (403) 297-1700 or email: info@cmha.calgary.ab.ca.