Time for action for mental health

Mental Health Week runs May 1 to 7

Canadian Mental Health Association is encouraging people to join its national Get Loud campaign next week during Mental Health Week.

Trish McAllister-Hall, CMHA Central Alberta Region executive director, said this year the annual awareness week is about promoting action after finally getting people comfortable talking about mental health.

“There’s been lots and lots of awareness over the past two to three years. We’re finally at the point where people are having good conversations about mental health. Now we need to move towards some action and programs that are going to help people get well and stay well,” McAllister-Hall said.

She said Central Albertans say they need more access to mental health supports, to mental crisis services and long-term counselling.

“We hear from a lot of folks who are sort of falling through the cracks because they don’t always meet the criteria of being mentally ill that would make them appropriate for AHS or Alberta Mental Health counselling services or to see a psychiatrist. But they might be too ill to be appropriate for other community support services that don’t necessarily deal with mental health or mental illness.”

She said people would like to see more services available at a community agency, whether it’s CMHA or another appropriate organization.

“I think the more we can keep mental health at a community level and out of the larger systems that people get lost in, the better.”

McAllister-Hall said more collaboration is also needed.

CMHA wants people to contact their local elected provincial and federal representatives to let them know more needs to be done.

CMHA Central Alberta Region is hosting a Mental Health Week open house on Monday, from 9 to 11 a.m. at its new Education and Learning Annex, 404-4911 51st St.

CMHA and tenants of the Buffalo apartments will also host a public open house at the Buffalo, a Housing First facility, on Friday from 10 a.m. to noon.

For information online about Mental Health Week getloud.mentalhealthweek.ca.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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