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BUILDING BRIDGES TO THE FUTURE - Red Cross Mental Health and Wellness

PRESS RELEASE January 4, 2023

Capacity Grant 2023-24

People for a Healthy Community (PHC) is pleased to announce we have received a national grant from the Canadian Red Cross. Generally, there are two formal approaches to mental health and wellness - the first; one on one counselling is well known but hard to access and can be costly. The other is to provide training and resources to as many people as possible. This focus can be referred to as building community capacity. For example, if 50 people participate in training and they all learn just one cognitive behaviour technique improving their own mental health while at the same time they establish a network of positive personal relationships and a common language, we all benefit. PHC has worked collaboratively with our school community - providing grab and go breakfasts, “emergency” lunches, weekly hot lunch and the weekly educational programs with students in our garden program. “It has been obvious to us that our school community is struggling, both at the elementary school and in the home school network, so when this grant opportunity arose we focused our application on supporting our elementary school age children, families, teachers and volunteers.” explained Brenda Fowler, Executive Director at PHC. It is no surprise to anyone that our school community has suffered under Covid. Children and families are trying to regain a daily rhythm and structure to their days, and volunteers who were in the school are not all back in place. Several new volunteers are needed. As a community member recently said “if it takes a village to raise a child, our community has been absent”. Parents are coping with the pressures of post covid inflation, and relationship burnout.

The grant will support children through art, and families, teachers and newly recruited volunteers through training in trauma informed communications, Red Cross Mental Health First Aid, and the Canadian Mental Health Associations (CMHA) program Live Life to the Full. All of these activities are designed to provide practical tools and communication skills to individuals. While, not providing “counselling” the project will provide a deeper understanding of our responses to stress, how to improve our communication skills, how to respond to someone in crisis, and how to retrain our thoughts and feelings so they support our wellness and open the doors to improvements in our relationships.

If spaces are available in any of the training sessions, community members will be considered as participants.

PHC was well positioned to receive this grant as we have previously hosted both the CMHA Live Life to the Full,(2016-18) and the Red Cross First Aid (2019) along with receiving Covid related supplies from the Red Cross. “This grant is an example of how building partnerships over time opens new opportunities where PHC can serve our community” stated Brenda.

Anyone interested in learning more, or wishing to be a new volunteer at the school (think reading buddy, math buddy, teacher helper) or interested in being trained as a facilitator in the CMHA program Live Life to the Full, or you want to be contacted should a training seat become available, please go to our website and fill out the expression of interest form or call 250-247-7311.

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