There are just under 100 communities in and around southern Alberta that are taking part in making sure that mental health in rural communities is looked after. The Rural Mental Health Project has three pillars the project is based around. These include training and funding, connecting a network of rural communities, and community grants to support the implementation of the ideas. $1.6-million will be given out by Alberta Health over three and a half years to rural communities for this project.
The goal is to work with up to 150 rural or remote communities who are interested in building a stronger foundation for mental health.
“Our approach encourages people within rural communities to come together to define what does a mentally healthy community mean to us?” says Rural Mental Health Project Manager, Jessica Turowski.
Training is started by identifying a community member who is interested in leading a local group. These people are called animators.
“We provide that person with training and support to get started, or continue the great work that they are already doing in their community,” adds Turowski.
First responders, seniors, schools, and municipal leaders will come together in conversations to build perspectives and knowledge that everyone can share.
All communities are able to receive just over $2600 says Turowski, “This covers the animators time in training so that they can get paid and compensated for their time. There is an additional 50 hours of time in the community over one year.”
After the first year of funding, all animators will have access to community grants varying from $400, up to $50,000 to support and implement their own mental health action plans.
Coaldale, Claresholm, and Nanton are just a few of the communities that have signed up for the Rural Mental Health Project.
To reach out to the Rural Mental Health Project, you can visit their website https://alberta.cmha.ca/documents/rural-mental-health/.