2014-2015 Report to the Community - Page 2

OUR message Laureen MacNeil, Executive Director As we turn the corner on the 2014 – 2015 year at CMHA Calgary Region, awareness around the issue of mental health and addiction has piqued public interest in a way we haven’t seen in the 60 year history of our agency. The face of mental health and addiction today is one of open conversation with a genuine intention of reducing or eliminating stigma and leading individuals with these challenges to a recoveryfocused future. The year past has been one where several significant endeavours highlight the public’s interest in our agency and the work we do. Our staff is receiving recognition for the commitment to excellence they exhibit in their work. Debbie Wiebe received Calgary Learns’ Life of Learning Awards’ (LOLA) 2015 Learning Champion and Brenda Vanderwal received United Way’s 2015 Bhanyana Family Foundation Award for Innovation and Creativity. Congratulations Debbie and Brenda! We held a community wide gathering to develop a collective response to the Alberta government’s GAP MAP Report, a deep analysis of the status of mental health and addiction services in the province. Additionally we are leading an AHS Strategic Clinical Network project on Peer Support. We launched the beautiful coffee-table book Sick to Death of the Silence, an awareness campaign and fundraising opportunity led by volunteers. We participated for the first time in the national flagship bike ride, Ride Don’t Hide. We hosted the 2014 Nationwide CMHA Conference, Strengthening Our Collective Voice, which was the largest in CMHA’s history. Our 10th Annual Survivors of Suicide Loss day provided the opportunity for individuals to gather, share and learn together. Our agency was honoured to host Her Excellency Sharon Johnston, where we were able to showcase not only our work in community, but also honour Jim Merchant, Board Chair some of our long-time volunteers with the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Awards. We were the recipients of funds raised by an internationally reaching and viral social media campaign, #CHHSLetsTalk, created by local high school students. And, we hosted our first ever Headstrong Youth Anti-Stigma Summit alongside the Mental Health Commission of Canada, just to name a few of the groundbreaking and headline gathering activities we found ourselves involved in this past year. We’ve put significant resources into how we strategically respond to the increased need this awareness is driving: Our Board has approved a three year strategic plan and CMHA Calgary has launched the development of a Recovery Framework (2015) that shapes the delivery of recovery-oriented best practices. These practices ensure that our mental health services are delivered in a way that supports individuals and families within a client-centred, recoveryoriented community-based operating model. This new framework strengthens our ability to work with clients at all stages of their illness and recovery journey, equipping them with the necessary skills, resources and support they need. The ability to share one’s story has a life-changing impact, and provides hope for others. As our clients find confidence and voice, we continue to focus on creating opportunities for them to share their stories of recovery in many different ways. This year, we celebrate the 60th anniversary for CMHA Calgary as positive champions for mental health in the city. We have a longstanding tradition of advocating for our clients while offering community-based services which are both creative and pioneering. This solid foundation positions us to continue our vital work in community; providing quality support for those with mental health and addiction challenges.