Monday, 22 January 2018 06:18

CMHA Alberta south region ready for (busy) 2018

Written by  Demi Knight
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The Canadian Mental Health Association Alberta south region are gearing up for a busy new year this January.

With traffic drastically slowing over the Christmas holidays, the association is ready for things to start back up in full force as families disband, stress starts back up and the new year brings in new troubles for many.
“The Christmas season really isn’t busy for us,” says David Gabert, Communications Lead and Project Co-ordinator for the Canadian Mental Health Association.
“We find that when people have family around and are surrounded by people special to them there’s less accessing our services.”
“However, we find that crisis services really tend to pick back up in the new year,” added Deborah Chenery, executive director for Alberta south region.
“We get a lot more calls to the crisis line and people dealing with post-holiday crisis whether that’s to do with housing, financing or separation from family, we definitely see an upwards trend right after new year.”
The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) which was founded in 1918 and is one of Canada’s oldest voluntary organizations, works to help more than one-hundred-thousand Canadians each year struggling with varying mental health issues as well as employing preventative methods for those likely to suffer from these issues.
Serving over 120 communities throughout the entire country the CMHA offers a platform of different programs designed to help provide support as well as a twenty-four-hour emergency crisis line for non-stop service to those in need.
The Alberta South Region which is located in Lethbridge is one of the one-hundred and twenty branches of the organization that offers these important programs to the community surrounding them, with many services starting back up this new year.
“This year, we are doing a lot of community marketing on how mental health can be affected by anything from stress in school to sports stress and anything in between,” says Gabert.
“In February, we are going to run a program which involves a mental health game day with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, and we also work with them directly to help prevent mental health issues that can come with playing a highly competitive sport.”
The CMHA ASR also offers many programs that adapt to fit the specific needs of individuals within the province along with support and preventative efforts from skills development programs, support for anxiety, depression, mental illnesses and more.
“We really want to help people in advance as well as offering crisis services,” Gabert.
“I think the evidence is showing that we’ve really focused more on medical and clinical treatment of mental illnesses and we need to be putting as much effort into preventative methods as well,” added Chenery. “So, dealing with recognizing that there’s mental health components linked to physical illness and other aspects of life is something that we’re really starting to focus more on and not just the treatment.”
With current social movements also working to de-stigmatize the image and notion surrounding mental illnesses, Gabert says it’s important and exciting to see more people accessing these services and getting the help that they need as time goes on.
The Canadian Mental Health Association, Alberta South Region is excited to keep offering these imperative services and programs to the community in the new year, while also helping to continue the work of encouraging people of all ages to access the organization to help them with anything they need at any time they need it.
The CMHA ASR can be accessed at 426, 6th Street South, Lethbridge on Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., with the twenty-four-hour crisis line available all the time for those who need it at 1-866-531-2600.

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